In an editorial, , La Jornada daily on Sunday strongly criticized the decision of the Maria Isabel Sheraton magagement to expel 16 Cuban officials who had met with US businessmen in Mexico City.
The event was denounced on Saturday by Cuba"s Basic Industry Minister Raul Perez del Prado, who stressed that the meeting had been successful despite US efforts to hinder it.
Two days of intensive work where full understanding was reached between parties and technical, as well as potential business-related issues were discussed, Perez del Prado said in reference to the meeting.
Hotel managers told La Jornada they were ordered to expel the Cuban officials by the Phoenix-based owners in Arizona, on the grounds that their presence violated US laws.
So, what this is all about is a flagrant imposition of extraterritorial laws, something Mexican authorities should not accept and should act accordingly.
The hotel chain not only expelled the 16-member Cuban delegation, but also failed to reimburse them the money they had paid for a three-night stay, despite they only stayed one, what amounts to a day-light robbery, the daily added.
President of the US-Cuba Trade Association Kirby Jones, an organizer of the meeting, hinted that US orders verge absurd, as hotel employees were told not to give them any water or food, and even to ban them from using hotel corridors.
Thus, if this is taken to extremes, "then not a single Cuban can stay in any US hotel worldwide, and not a single Cuban can have a MacDonald"s hamburger anywhere," added Jones.
La Jornada quoted US Embassy spokeswoman Judith Bryan as saying that no US people or entity can provide services to any Cuban person or entity.
"Such is the case of the Maria Isabel Sheraton facility, which is owned by Starwoood Hotels Resorts World, a US company," Bryan added.
This case if more serious as a Mexican law of 1996 bans Mexico-based companies to carry out actions affecting trade or limiting investment by extraterritorially applying foreign laws, La Jornada daily said.
In opinion of a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Deputy Jorge Martinez, the Cubans" expulsion is "a violation of basic civil rights." He said the Mexican government should punish the hotel for the incident.
The daily stressed that Mexican authorities should do better than punish the company, as an action of this nature is unacceptable and demands strong measures.
Unfortunately, the paper concluded, taking into account the way the government of Vicente Fox has acted before in similar cases, one cannot expect too much in this regard.