US Measures against Cuba Undermine Trust with Europe

HAVANA TIMES – A US law allowing lawsuits against foreign firms active in Cuba is “contrary to international law” and “undermines trust” in the trans-Atlantic partnership, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Thursday.

As part of White House efforts to increase pressure on Havana, last month the United States announced changes to the so-called Helms Burton Act which would come into effect on May 2.

Specifically, Washington decided to lift its suspension of Title III, under which US citizens of Cuban descent can sue foreign firms and individuals using property confiscated from them by the Cuban government after the country’s 1959 revolution.

Those who use such property will also face visa restrictions to the US, Washington announced.

The European Union “deeply regrets” the move, Mogherini said in a statement. “The EU considers the extra-territorial application of unilateral restrictive measures to be contrary to international law,”
she added.

“The decision to activate Title III … is a breach of the commitments undertaken in the EU-US agreements of 1997 and 1998,” the statement says. “This will cause unnecessary friction and undermines trust and predictability in the transatlantic partnership.”

The EU will “draw on all appropriate measures” to address the effects of the US measures, Mogherini said, citing the bloc’s rights under the World Trade Organization and the EU’s so-called Blocking Statute aimed at protecting European companies if they are sued.

Act III of the Helms Burton Act, introduced in 1996, had until now been suspended by every US administration.

15 thoughts on “US Measures against Cuba Undermine Trust with Europe

  • May 8, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Neena, when writing of the evils of Batista with torture and killing people, don’t forget that Villa Marista is still in use by MININT for similar purposes – the way to get moved to another jail, is to confess! Cuban archival materials record 3,615 executions by firing squad following Fidel Castro taking power and an additional 1,253 extra judicial killings have been attributed to the regime. Have you looked at what the Castros did with the confiscated land – they let hundreds of thousands of acres revert to bush, replacing food previously produced in Cuba, by importation of some 80% of requirements – but still leaving shortages.
    When justifiably criticizing Batista and his methods, don’t omit that all that happened as a consequence of the revolution was that one dictator was replaced by another.
    The freedom for Americans to go to Cuba only occurred in the final year of the Obama presidency. Apart from the USSR constructed but incomplete autopista, do you know of any other additional roads built by the Castros? One knows that Batista built the tunnel at the mouth to Havana harbour, the beautiful bridge at the border of Mayabeque and Matanzas provinces and the memorial to Jose Marti at Santiago where the military guard goose-step with precision, so what did Fidel and/or Raul build?
    Donald Trump although by nature a bully (but 63 million Americans voted for him), is not responsible for the misery of Cubans. Yes, having home wife and family in Cuba I agree that their position is sad. Like Stalin in Russia, Castro removed the wealthy and middle class sections of society leaving everybody in an equal level of misery. I agree with you that most Cubans don’t want communism, but they are held in its inexorable iron grip.

  • May 7, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    President Donald Trump is by nature a bully. The history of the Monroe Doctrine, the US written Cuban Constitution of 1902, the Platt Amendment and Helms-Burton are similarly of a bullying mentality. The odd exception is the US Cuban Democracy Act which is based upon concern for the people of Cuba and which introduced the embargo. One can take a cynical approach to that Act and suggest that it was a matter of subterfuge, but taken as read, it’s purpose is good. Obviously, the declared purpose of the embargo can after some fifty eight years, be declared a failure, but that does not change the purpose as written. The US is politically a strange beast, but those politics unlike those of the communist and authoritarian countries are openly exposed by a free media. Who knows what is going on behind the veneers in China, Russia, North Korea and indeed Cuba?
    All the conjecture about Cuba’s future – including my own – is just that, conjecture. For whereas the intended future remains a so-called one-party “democratic socialist” state, the reality is that it will be determined by the Communist Party of Cuba (see Article 5 of the Constitution). Is Diaz-Canel merely a stand-in for the eventual succession of Alejandro Castro Espin (or even sister Deborah and her husband General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Callejas boss of GAESA))? Plotting and counter-plots are built into the history of communist dictatorship, but the reality is that in a totalitarian system there is but one dictator and currently that remains Raul Castro and through the Military (Raul as First Secretary retains the power), GAESA controlling over 80% of the economy, with the CDR and MININT goons reporting to Alejandro, the power still lies totally within the Castro family.
    Maybe it is a good idea to bully Cuba? Is it a good idea to endeavor to remove dictatorship in favour of multi-party democracy?

  • May 5, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Yes. Bullying Cuba.
    Regardless of your political opinions, it is bullying Cuba.

  • May 5, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    George III suffered from severe mental illness and during the period you mention he was barely in control of his own faculties never mind Foreign affairs.
    Florida was signed back over to Spain in The Treaty of Paris which recognised the sovereignty of the fledgling USA. This was at the culmination of the first American civil war (aka the U.S. War of Independence).
    I think Florida then remained a property of Spain until after the UK/USA conflict of 1812 when it then became part of the U.S. network of slave plantations. This continued until the second American civil war (aka the US Civil War).

  • May 4, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Bullying Cuba? Bullying the bloody horrendous dictatorship that has been in power for 60 years offering repression and Cubans with only two choices exile or jail.

  • May 4, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I envy you for living on Cuba with 20 dollars a month and for watching in silence how others profit with what you were robbed

  • May 4, 2019 at 10:29 am

    The UE is defending their right to profit with stolen properties and, of course, the real owners, those who were robbed by Castro, should only accept their fate. WHAT A BUNCH OF BASTARDS.

  • May 3, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Not only does the Liar-in-Chief-trump want to bully Cuba……
    He also wants to try and bully the rest of the world into bullying Cuba.
    The whole world votes against the U.S. embargo (apart from the USA’s disgraceful little fundamentalist Middle East outpost aka Israel).
    The EU and the rest of the world needs to take a stand against this authoritarian demagogue who sits there heaping more and more shame upon the previously respected office he holds.

  • May 3, 2019 at 6:03 pm


  • May 3, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    If your remark is addressed to me Curt, I should explain that my Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II. She is a Constitutional Monarch and although it can be properly said that such a system is archaic or even antediluvian, it has two marked advantages. The first is that IT WORKS, politics are left to the elected politicians and the Head of State doesn’t even have a vote. The second advantage is that the system avoids having an elected President as Head of State and almost without exception, within six months of being elected over half the population dislike him of her. Witness Macron and many others. The success of the British Commonwealth reflects the advantages offered by having a Constitutional Monarch when those fifty eight countries can meet and hold civilized discourse, compared with the UN rabble. The US decided to adopt its current system back in 1776, and to many it appears illogical that some 200 people determine who to elect as President, resulting at the moment in having a President who received a minority of votes from the people (I almost wrote electorate, but that would be a miss-use of the term). Poor Cuba had George III as its Head of State for only one year, before he did a swop with Spain, exchanging Cuba for Florida, which he promptly lost a year later to the US revolution. But he was an almost total Monarch, prior to the establishment of Constitutional Monarchy.

  • May 3, 2019 at 1:00 am

    What if foreigners supported a dictator in the United States and took 75% of all our land? You would support a someone to take back our land. Cuba was a democracy before Dictator Batista was given military and financial support from the U.S. He made the rich richer and the middle class poorer. He profited from foreigners who owned most of the land and sugar plantations in Cuba and from the American Mafia which controlled the gambling, drug, and prostitution business in Havana. He censored the media and had his secret police torture and kill people who spoke out against him. So Castro led a revolt and gave the land back to the poor Cubans. Prior to the revolution, 75 per cent of Cuba’s agricultural land was owned by foreigners, mostly American corporations. Under Castro, schools, hospitals and roads were constructed. Healthcare, education and housing became free for all Cubans. Even though they are poor they now have a higher standard than in most of Latin America. Most Cuban’s do not want communism. They want a return to their democracy. They want their votes to be counted equally, not like in our country where the majority of voters did not get the President they voted for. Most Cuban’s want free enterprise. When Obama was President, Americans were free to go to Cuba and many Cubans left their communist jobs and began starting private businesses to take care of all the new tourists and make much more money. But Trump’s policies put an end to all this free enterprise. Cuban’s are such friendly and well educated people. They love Americans and think Trump is doing things just to get reelected even if though he is hurting the average Cuban and making them return to jobs under communism . They have to support their families. Sad.

  • May 2, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    what trump needs is a BBC in his a…

  • May 2, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Well Glen that is quite an emotive contribution. However, do you know why Cubans take care of their families and grandparents? Do you realize that after the revolution, property was nationalized and Cubans were told that they had the right to live in the properties they occupied at that time. Initially that was fine, but then the kids grew up and formed romantic partnerships. But there was no property being constructed, so they had to live with the parents, Then they had children, who duly grew up to form their own partnerships, but again there was nowhere to go, so they had to live with the parents and grandparents (the latter being in control of the property inhabited). In some families there were even four generations living in a two bedroom home, with few if any comforts, sharing beds and unable to find any individual privacy. Many of those homes were – and still are, little more than shacks. The parents had the luxury of an average income equal to $20 US per month, but the grandparents only have a pension of 200 pesos (equal to $8 US) per month.
    The younger generations are dependent upon the oldest generation in order to have some form of roof over their heads, and the older generation are dependent upon the younger ones to aid them with buying sufficient food in addition to the monthly rations (which if available equate only with 1800 calories per day for 19 days).
    Cubans (unless subsidized by family members who have moved to the capitalist world) have little to enjoy in this life other than la familia, friends and music which is the soul of the country. The combination of these factors makes them – as you have observed, very sociable.
    I spend most of my time as a member of a Cuban family, I know that which I have described. The reality of today’s Cuba is that if seeking a quiet life:
    “Don’t challenge the system, accept it, stay mute and exist.”
    Cubans are denied what is perhaps the least recognized but possibly the most important right for those like you, who live in the free world. That Glen is simply the right to openly disagree with the opinions of others and especially political viewpoints. Criticism of the regime is a criminal offence and Cuba has the fourth highest level of incarceration in the world as a consequence.
    I have a love of Cuba and a great affection for its people, but I observe the reality.

  • May 2, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    I envy you for living in a country with a civilized president. I travel overseas frequently and since that disgusting filthy animal became president, I tell some people I’m Canadian.

  • May 2, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Trump is a big bully,always was and always will be,I would love to meet him one day or one nite in a alley,so I could kick his pride in his ass,then boot his balls into his throat, such a bully as the world has ever seen,,Big USA,COME ON,a little country of 1000 miles and he boots them in the balls every chance he gets.I have no respect for him and never will have,I will tell you one thing,I am a Canadian man but I have learn more about love in Cuba then I have in all my world travels,the Cubans take care of there family,grandparents no matter what age they are ,their younger generation takes care of their family,we do not do this here in Canada or in the USA,I have learned important values that I have never learned here in Canada or in 12 yrs of having a home in the USA.IM PROUD TO SAY that I have learned how to LOVE,the Cuban people taught me that and I will always be grateful for this valuable lesson that was taught to me by the younger generation of Cuban people.

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