MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A groundbreaking class action lawsuit has been filed against the Cuban government.
A South Florida family says decades of generational wealth was stolen when the Castro regime took the family hotel that their great grandfather built.
It's a beautiful hotel, located in the heart of Cienfuegos, Cuba.
Over the years it has been restored and is currently being operated by the Spanish hotel chain Meliá.
The hotel was built in 1925 by the Mata Family and confiscated by the Castro government in the early 1960's.
Now, due to the Helms Burton law and a go-ahead from the Trump Administration, Cuban American families can now sue for restitution.
"It has been used by a Spanish hotel chain which has not paid them any compensation," said attorney Andres Rivero. "We intend to receive the value of their hotel from the people who are using it without permission."
For the Mata family, a possible light at the end of the tunnel is providing funds for great grandchildren.
"We have heard of this day since we were tiny," said Carolina Mata. "This was all my dad and aunt spoke about."
"My entire life, I have heard how my grandfather ran the hotel," added Antonio Mata. "My great grandfather built it. The day the hotel was taken from my family, my mom vividly remembers that story and I have heard it over and over again."
The lawsuit names the hotel operator and in an interesting twist, aims at individuals involved in the Cuban government that made the deal with the hotel group.
"We have information to believe that there are government officials who are taking off the top of the deals," said Rivero. "We believe that they have assets outside of Cuba and we intend to find those assets."
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