A 95 year-old woman whose family owned a
portion of the Varadero beachfront in Cuba before the Communist Revolution
will file suit on Thursday, July 8, 2004, against the Paris-based Club Med
resort chain for building and operating a luxury hotel on land she says
the Castro regime attempted to confiscate in the 1960s.
Elvira de la Vega Glen fled Cuba in the 1960s and became a U.S. citizen
after coming to Miami. She and her son Robert Glen filed suit in Miami
federal court alleging that Club Med made millions of dollars by running
the Club Med Varadero resort from 1997 until last year, when it was sold
to Grupo Pinero, a Spanish hotel firm. The 337-room luxury resort was one
of many destination hotels operated by Club Med as part of its $2 Billion
per year world-wide network, which includes the Club Med Sandpiper resort
in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.
The Glen’s complaint alleges that Club Med was “unjustly enriched” in
violation of Florida law by taking advantage of valuable confiscated
property to build the luxury hotel. It also alleges that Club Med violated
the federal “Trading with the Enemy Act,” and U.S. Department of Treasury
regulations applicable to firms attempting to trade with the Cuban
government, in violation of the economic embargo. Club Med has previously
been notified by the U.S. Department of State that it was being
investigated for violations of U.S. law for operating the Varadero resort.
“My family could not believe that a respected company like Club Med would
get so deeply involved with the Castro regime just to make money off of
our land. I was especially mad because Club Med spends so much energy
trying to get my friends and neighbors to come to their resorts, both in
Florida and the Caribbean. They just can not have it both ways—either
do business with Castro or with the United States, but not both!”
The Glens are represented by the Washington, D.C. law firm of Crowell &
Moring LLP, which is known for its success in winning court suits and
obtaining legislation from Congress on behalf of Americans who have been
victims of state-sponsored terrorism.
Local counsel is the Miami-based firm of Podhurst Orseck, which
represented the families of the Americans shot down and killed by the
Cuban Air Force as part of the “Brothers to the Rescue” case.
A press conference will be held at on Thursday, July 8th 11:00 a.m. (EST),
at the United States Courthouse Miami, Tower Building, 301 N. Miami
Avenue, front steps.