Gabriel Escarrer of Meliá cannot enter the US. | Efe

The US government has barred the CEO of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer, from entering the country.

This has to do with the activation of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act by the Trump administration and so with business activities in Cuba. Meliá were sent a letter from the US state department in October, which informed the company that if it did not accept a series of conditions in respect of Helms-Burton within 45 days, Escarrer would be prohibited from entering the US.

Meliá say that the US administration linked this notification to business activities of subsidiary companies which, in association with Cuban public authorities, manage two hotels in the Holguín region. These are on land that was expropriated from the Sanchez Hill family in the 1950s. The hotel company adds that a lawsuit was filed in Spain by "supposed representatives" of this family and was completely dismissed by the courts.

Meliá go on to say that conditions imposed by Washington are not acceptable to the company and are, in addition, contrary to European regulations, namely the Blocking Statute. This considers Helms-Burton to be a violation of the most elementary principles of international law.

The company has therefore placed a resolution of the issue in the hands of Spain's national institutions and, in particular, European authorities. It trusts that "their dedication, diligence and close collaboration will result in a satisfactory solution to the matter".