A Florida resident is suing e-commerce giant Amazon for marketing charcoal produced on land he says Cuba stole from his grandfather after the 1959 communist revolution.
Reuters reports a Florida man named Daniel Gonzales has filed a lawsuit against e-commerce giant Amazon for marketing charcoal produced on land that he says was confiscated from his grandfather by Cuba afte the 1959 communist revolution, adding to a line of lawsuits in the U.S. court system regarding the island nation.
The lawsuit was filed just one day after another lawsuit which accused American Airline and the Latam Airlines Group of trafficking stolen property using Havana’s international airport. These lawsuits were allowed due to President Donald Trump’s activation in May of a provision fo the 1996 Helms-Burton Act which was previously waived by every previous president due to opposition from the international community over fears it could create chaos in U.S. courts.
The Title III provision allows U.S. citizens including Cuban-Americans to file lawsuits against both Cuban entities and foreign companies over property seized after 1959. Gonzales says he is the rightful owner of 2,030 acres of land in Cuba’s easter Granman province which were nationalized in 1964. Authorities gave his family just seven days to vacate the area with their personal belonging.
“The communist Cuban Government … has not paid any compensation to Plaintiff for its seizure,” the filing reads. Gonzales claims that Amazon’s promotion of the sale of Marabu charcoal produced on the property means that the firm is trafficking stolen property. Gonzales is also suing Florida-based company Fogo Charcoal for importing the charcoal.
John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, highlighted how many companies could potentially be sued under Title III, stating: “Will the next defendant be Crowley Liner Services, which transported the charcoal from Cuba to the United States? FedEx that delivered some of the charcoal?”
Approximately 11 lawsuits have been filed under Title III against 19 defendants, 14 of which are foreign firms doing business with Cuba to some degree. This includes U.S. cruise lines Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise, and Carnival Corp. Travel website Expedia Group Inc. and Spanish hotel operator Melia Hotels International are also involved in Title III lawsuits.