US Bans Hilton Hotel from Hosting Castro


Hilton blocked from hosting Caricom conference attended by Cuban president

By Julien Neaves
December 07, 2011 –

Raúl CastroUS-BASED hotel chain Hilton Worldwide has been denied a special licence from the US Government to allow for the IV Caricom/Cuba Summit to be held at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre with visiting Cuban President Raul Castro.

The two-day summit, which starts today, will instead be held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain.

Castro, who arrives in Trinidad and Tobago this morning and leaves on Friday, will be staying at the Kapok Hotel, St Clair, though according to officials at the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Cuban Embassy, this was his original accommodation.
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9 thoughts on “US Bans Hilton Hotel from Hosting Castro”

  1. US says no to licence for Hilton venue
    The Government was forced to shift the venue for tomorrow’s Caricom-Cuba summit from the Hilton Trinidad Conference Centre to the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), following issues concerning the US embargo on Cuba. The US-owned Hilton in T&T was unable to obtain a licence from the US Government in order to host the Caricom-Cuba summit, a Hilton statement indicated yesterday.

  2. The next Caricom/Cuba conference should be hosted at Hotel Libre in Havana. If I remeber correctly before the inauguration of Obama there was mention of mending fences and start building a relationship between the US and Cuba. The Big Stick player should know the little things in life makes the big difference in the long turn.

  3. Uncle Sam flexes his muscle. One must not forget that US still controls much of the Caribbean. One way or the other. As for the Cuban “Hola Amigos”.

  4. This sends a clear message to everyone that the US just does not want to stop doing what they do best, that is bullying everyone to get what they want from them. Look how long now they have caused poverty and suffering to the people who just happen to be born in cuba and have not ever done anything to the US. Then they say that they are mending fences. I am sure The present US president does not know exactly why they have an embago on Cuba, which is more than 50 years old. on the other hand they say that they are helping man kind. They are just full of it.

  5. Hotel under US law—embassy

    By Gail Alexander
    December 08, 2011 –

    The Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre is subject to US laws and regulations which require it to obtain a licence from the US Department of the Treasury to host Cuban nationals at the current Caricom-Cuba summit, the US Embassy has pointed out. Alexander McLaren, the embassy’s acting public affairs officer, noted this yesterday in a statement. This followed word that the Government had to shift the summit from the US-managed Hilton to the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) because the US trade embargo against Cuba and the Cuban presence at the summit. Cuban president Raul Castro is the guest of honour at the summit.

    The US trade embargo against Cuba was strengthened in 1996 by the Helms-Burton law which prohibits various situations concerning Cuba, including recognition of a transitional government in Cuba that included Fidel or Raúl Castro. The Hilton’s plant is owned by the Government of T&T, but is managed by Hilton Worldwide, a wholly US-owned company. A statement from Hilton on Tuesday noted that while the hotel had worked with the appropriate governmental agencies in the US and in T&T to secure a licence for the summit, the hotel had been informed that the necessary licence would not be granted. Hilton noted that violations were subject to significant civil and criminal penalties. Foreign Affairs Minister Suruj Rambachan had said the Government had to abide by international law on the issue and had shifted the summit venue to NAPA.

    Hilton following the rules
    HILTON TRINIDAD general manager, Ali Khan, said the decision not to host the Fourth Caricom-Cuba Summit at the hotel today was not unique to the Hilton. Khan told Newsday that even though the State owns the hotel, its operations are subject to the directives of Hilton Worldwide which runs it as the manager. …other US owned hotels such as the Hyatt Regency, Crowne Plaza and the Courtyard Marriott are subject to these regulations as well. Khan said the Hilton followed the established protocol to obtain a licence to host the summit but was informed by Hilton Worldwide that the request had been turned down.

    IN a new twist regarding the hosting of the fourth Caricom/Cuba Summit, the US Embassy in Trinidad is reporting that the request for a special licence by hotel chain Hilton to accommodate the conference was received a little over a week before the event and was not declined but was still “pending”.

    Rowley blames Govt for Hilton ‘confusion’
    Shift in venue for Caricom-Cuba talks

    Rowley: Govt wasn’t ahead of its game
    The embarrassment of having the United States Government deny a request for a licence to use the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann’s, as the venue for the Caricom/Cuba summit could have been avoided if the Foreign Affairs Ministry was “ahead of its game”, said Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

    Union calls for apology
    The Communication Workers Union, which represents the majority of workers at Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, has called on the United States government to publicly apologise to the Caribbean.

    Cubans check in at Kapok
    Officials of the Kapok Hotel are not saying much about the fact Cuban President Raúl Castro and his official delegation are occupying several rooms at the 94-room four-star facility during their brief stay in Trinidad and Tobago.

    US out of step on Cuba
    This most recent impact of the 50-year-old United States embargo against the Government and people of Cuba exemplifies its continuing anachronistic nature.

    Unwelcome meddling by the United States
    That the Hilton Trinidad, owned by the State, was effectively prohibited by dictate under US law from holding a conference to be attended by Cuban President Raul Castro feels like a slap in the face of Trinidad and Tobago and a contemptuous overriding of national sovereignty. That feeling is justified.


    Stop the Hilton Hotels ban
    April 29, 2007
    Outcry as US blockade spreads to the UK tourist sector

    Hilton hotels lift European ban on Cubans
    March 02, 2007
    The Hilton group yesterday reversed its ban on Cuban delegations staying at its hotels in Europe, and called on Britain and the US to resolve the contentious issue, which arises from the American embargo on the Caribbean island.

    Wikileaks show campaign against Hilton Hotels hit home
    August 31, 2011
    The latest leaked US diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks this month, reveal the success of the CSC and British union campaign against the Hilton Group’s ban on Cuban nationals staying in their hotels in 2007. Leaked cables report on the international hotel chains response to a boycott of its hotels by two large British unions. A subsequent cable reports on a meeting of All Party Group on Cuba MPs which reveal that the highly effective boycott of Hilton hotels in 2007 led to concern by the hotel group that ‘a conflict between US sanctions on Cuba and UK law banning discrimination, has instructed its employees not to violate local UK law, putting them on a potential collision course with US law’.

  6. I wonder what would have happened if all the other delegations had shown some “balls”and would have walked out of the “Hilton”?

  7. Hey Francisco ,as per usual , ‘much ado over nothing,’by dem selective ,clueless, cultish fans / defenders, of ‘Her Majesty ,Queen K,and her regime, on ‘ah runaway rapid railway train, back to de past,’ and I ain’t kidding.
    Sorry ‘PP-ONOMICARIANS!’Just love ribbing you guys.
    Let me add, that A government , and by extension ,professed leaders,of any particular country,tend to get the treatment, they richly deserves – especially from de big , political boys, across the global village.

    Pray someone, anyone ,please tell me, what exactly is the Foreign Policy of Trinidad and Tobago, outside of initiation of a policy to make Guyana , a special Borough of T&T, or worst yet , selling our collective souls ,to the ‘ political tricksters,regulation despising , but we want all your natural resources , for nothing tangible in return, China?’
    Now that we were once more struck a severe blow in the solar plexus,it’s on to a long ignored,domestic issue,with international significance,as far as respectability resonance ,by global power elites towards , us ,mere Global South peons.
    I am of course referring to finally eliminating dem anachronistic ,4th century, OLD FOGIES, of the British Privy Council AS OUR FINAL CCOURT, and finally replace them by our Regional ,legal luminaries, a la Caribbean Court of Appeal.
    Yeah I know , it ain’t happening, and LIKEWISE , we still have to await the death of octogenarian Fidel, and loyal ,military socialist brother Raul , before Cuba will,….well, your guess is as good as mine, so ….fill in de blanks, hmmmm Dr Suraj Rambachan?
    Your call, or is it?

  8. Where is our foreign of base, in the US house of Representatives of Virginia Langley. How Spineless. Perhaps if the Hilton was handing out UWI exam papers before the final year to a particular ethnic group we would have a stronger RE-action like the extradition case. Trinidad only has sovereignty when it concerns religioethnic interest. When US Attorney Holder visited TNT, before he landed in the US a score of “Enemy of the State[s]”were arrested w/out due process.
    Here UNIONS are on the wrong ball; We need no apology from the US after all Hilton does not sell T&T.
    Besides the US embassy should be the only “authority” over US affairs and even then there are agreed rule/limits-outside of the Embassy the US ought to be made aware of its borderline.
    Trinidad Hilton is a business like any other business; I think we should audit the Hilton!
    The Government keeps blundering on every turn soon they’ll declare Christmas a Depavali Holiday and Carnival Mastana Baha.
    I’ll agree with Dumb Witted Rowley, that this minister was not on the ball.Perhaps Suraj Rambachan is/was to caught up in the Religio-Ethnic orientation of his cultural ops! Foreign Ministry.
    That’s the calibre resource you get straying from the Historical make-up of a Nation heritage. We were one nation now we hear we are a multicultural society- in other words:dis for me an dat for you! God Forbid!

  9. Kamla to Castro after Hilton fiasco: I am sorry
    PRIME MINISTER Kamla Persad-Bissessar has apologised to Cuban President Raul Castro who was not allowed to stay at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s, for the Caricom/Cuba Summit held last week in Port of Spain.

    Manning: Govt has offended one of its allies

    Manning to Govt: Apologise to Castro for Hilton fiasco

    PM: Castro accepted apology for Hilton snub
    PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday said she personally offered an apology to Cuban President Raul Castro after her Government was forced to relocate the Fourth Caricom/Cuba Summit.

    US/Caricom tit-for-tat over Cuba
    THE administration of US President Barack Obama got it wrong in thinking it could deal a diplomatic ‘black eye’ to the host government and its allies for last week’s Fourth Triennial Caricom/Cuba Summit in Port of Spain, and escape a stinging rebuke from the 15-member Community.

    ‘Not the time to lift embargo’
    The United States does not see it fit to raise its trade embargo against Cuba at this time, the US Embassy in Port of Spain has said.

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