Mexican Officials Lift Hotel Closure Order

Mexico City -- City officials lifted a closure order on the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel here yesterday, just one day after posting a closure notice on the hotel's entrance in apparent retaliation for hotel managers ejecting a Cuban delegation last month.

"We are confident that in these few hours the hotel has rectified practically all the irregularities," Reuters quoted city official Virginia Jaramillo as saying.

Jaramillo was referring to construction and licensing violations that city officials said they found during an inspection of the hotel after hotel managers ejected 16 Cubans on orders from the U.S. government.

The U.S. government said that White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels, which owns the Sheraton brand and operates the 755-room the hotel, was violating the American embargo against communist Cuba by accepting the Cuban delegation as paying guests.

Jaramillo spoke to reporters after the Sheraton's managers met with government officials and representatives of the local American Chamber of Commerce, according to Reuters.

The hotel continued operating yesterday despite the closure notice that city officials posted on the hotel's front entrance yesterday.

The Mexican federal government has threatened to fine the hotel $466,000 for violating Mexico's sovereignty by obeying the laws of a foreign government while operating on Mexican soil.