MIAMI—Rivero Mestre filed a Helms-Burton Act lawsuit on behalf of José Ramon López Regueiro, the rightful owner of Cuba’s main airport—José Martí International Airport—against American Airlines and LATAM Airlines Group. More than forty cargo and passenger airlines are unlawfully trafficking in and benefitting from the airport by operating cargo and passenger flights into and out of the airport without permission from, or compensation to, Mr. Regueiro. All of them received notices warning them to cease and desist or face suit. The defendants did not comply with the 30-day notices of plaintiff’s intent to sue, which gives Mr. Regueiro the right to seek treble damages.

Regueiro is the son of José López Vilaboy, who during his ownership of the airport in the 1950s, transformed it from a small, outdated airport into Cuba’s main international airport, serving Havana and surrounding cities. The Cuban government confiscated the airport without any compensation to Vilaboy shortly after the communist Castro regime seized power in 1959. Since then, a number of airlines, including U.S.-based airlines, have routinely used the airport for transporting cargo and passengers.

The Helms-Burton Act provides Cuban-Americans whose properties in Cuba were confiscated by the communist Castro dictatorship, with the right to recover damages from persons and entities that traffic in, or benefit from trafficking in, their properties. The Act also provides for treble damages against a defendant that received prior notice of the claim and did not stop its trafficking or compensate the owners of the confiscated property.

Click the links below to see media coverage.

EFE – Presentan demanda contra American Airlines y LATAM bajo la ley Helms-Burton

Associated Press – Demandan a American y LATAM por uso de aeropuerto de Cuba

Reuters – Demandan a American Airlines y LATAM en EEUU por uso de aeropuerto en Cuba

Fox News – Cuban-American claims to be rightful owner of Havana airport, sues airlines 

The Business Times – American Airlines, Latam face lawsuit over Cuba business 

Law Vanguardia – Presentan demandas contra American Airlines y LATAM bajo la ley Helms-Burton 

Telemundo – Presentan demanda contra American Airlines

Radio Rebelde – Demandadas dos aerolíneas bajo la Ley Helms-Burton contra Cuba 

UOL Noticias – American Airlines e Latam são processadas nos EUA por operar em Cuba

El Nuevo Dia – Las aerolíneas American y Latam reciben las primeras demandas por hacer negocios en Cuba 

LECHO Touristique – Aéroport de la Havane : des compagnies aériennes poursuivies en justice 

The Wall Street Journal – American Airlines, Latam Airlines Sued Over Seized Cuban Airport 

S. News – Cuban-American Sues American Airlines, Latam Airlines for ‘Trafficking’ in Havana Airport

Reuters – Cuban-American sues American Airlines, Latam Airlines for ‘trafficking’ in Havana airport

Daily Business Review – American and LATAM Airlines Hit With Helms-Burton Lawsuit 

Law 360 – Airlines Hit With Helms-Burton Suit Over Cuba’s Main Airport

Miami Herald (video) – Miami man who says he’s rightful owner of Havana’s airport sues American Airlines

El Nuevo Herald (video) – American Airlines enfrenta demanda por el uso del aeropuerto de La Habana

NBC – American Airlines is latest company sued for operating in expropriated property in Cuba 

WLRN (sound clip) – American Airlines Sued For Operating On Seized Property In Cuba

Global Investigations Review – American Airlines and LATAM sued under Helms-Burton Act 

El Economista – Demandan a American y LATAM por uso de aeropuerto de Cuba 

Ciber Cuba – Presentan demanda contra American Airlines y LATAM por operar en el aeropuerto de La Habana 


About Rivero Mestre LLP

Rivero Mestre, from its offices in Miami and New York, represents clients from investigation to verdict and appeal in complex business disputes in U.S. federal courts, state courts, and domestic and international arbitration proceedings. The firm’s practice focuses primarily on representing clients in a broad range of complex commercial disputes including financial institution matters, antitrust matters, intellectual property disputes, and litigation and arbitration relating to Latin American trade and investment. For more information, visit