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.

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