Cuban Foreign Ministry Denounces Escalating U.S. Hostility

The U.S. State Department announced today the decision to allow, as of March 19 this year, the filing of lawsuits before U.S. courts under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act only against Cuban companies included on the List of Restricted Entities issued by that government in November of 2017, which was updated one year later. This arbitrary and illegitimate list, intended to tighten the blockade and expand its extraterritorial effects, forbids U.S. citizens from engaging in direct financial transactions with the aforementioned entities.

The announcement made by the U.S. State Department also indicated that it would suspend for only 30 days the option of initiating legal action with the same purposes against other Cuban entities or foreign companies which maintain commercial or economic relations with Cuba.

Since its entry into effect in 1996, the Helms-Burton Act has sought to universalize the economic blockade through brutal and illegal pressures exerted by the United States against third countries, their governments, and companies. It is intended to asphyxiate the Cuban economy, and generate or increase shortages among the population with the purpose of imposing in Cuba a government that serves the interests of the U.S.

Given the illegitimate character of the goals they pursue, which are contrary to international law, the Helms-Burton Act and the blockade arouse universal rejection, which has been reiterated for almost three decades within the most important regional and international fora. The most recent example of this was the United Nations General Assembly meeting held on November 1, when this policy was rejected in 10 consecutive votes, thus leaving the U.S. completely isolated.

Title II of the Helms-Burton Act states that the overthrowing of the revolutionary government, the subsequent tutelage by a U.S. intervenor and the subsequent establishment of a counterrevolutionary government subordinate to Washington, that would no doubt pursue the return to, or compensation for, former owners of all properties they or their descendants might claim, regardless of whether or not they were U.S. citizens at the time the nationalizations took place, or the fact that they abandoned the property. During this entire period, the economic blockade would continue to be fully implemented.

Consequently, Cubans would be forced to return, reimburse or pay U.S. claimants for the house in which they live, the area on which their communities are built, the arable land where they cultivate produce, the school where their children are educated, the hospital or polyclinic where they receive medical assistance, the place where their workplace is located or where they have a private business, and also sites used to provide subsidized services such as electricity, water, and communications enjoyed by the population.

This is an aspiration that can only be conceived by the minds of those who identify Cuba as a colonial possession. According to the Helms-Burton Act, the economic blockade would be lifted only when that ambition is fulfilled.

This law relies on two fundamental lies: the notion that nationalizations carried out soon after the triumph of the Revolutionary were illegitimate or inappropriate, and that Cuba is a threat to the U.S. national security.

Cuban nationalizations were carried out in accordance with the law, strictly abiding by the Constitution and in accordance with international law. All nationalizations included processes of fair and appropriate compensation, something that the U.S. government refused to consider. Cuba reached and honored global compensation agreements with other nations which are today investing in Cuba, such as Spain, Switzerland, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

The real threat to regional peace and security are the irresponsible declarations and actions of the U.S. government as well as the destabilization plans aimed at Latin America and the Caribbean, pursuing the express purpose of imposing the Monroe Doctrine.

The Reaffirmation of Cuban Dignity and Sovereignty Act of December 24, 1996, states that the Helms-Burton Act is illegal, inapplicable, and has no legal value or effect whatsoever. It considers null and void any claim under that law by any individual or legal entity.

According to that law, claims for compensation for nationalized properties could be part of a process of negotiation on the based on equality and mutual respect between the governments of Cuba and the United States, and be “reviewed together with the indemnifications the Cuban state and people are entitled to as a result of the damages caused by the blockade and aggression of every sort, for which the U.S. government is responsible”. It also makes it clear that those who resort to procedures or mechanisms under the Helms-Burton Act, to the detriment of others, will be excluded from possible future negotiations.

The Cuban Government reiterates to all economic partners and foreign companies operating in Cuba that full guarantees will be granted to foreign investments and joint projects. Article 28 of the Cuban Constitution, which was ratified by an overwhelming majority on February 24, 2019, also recognizes these guarantees, which are additionally included in Law No. 118 on Foreign Investment of March 29, 2014.

Today’s decision imposes additional obstacles to our economic development and progress goals, but the United States will continue to fail to achieve its main objective of suppressing by force the sovereign will of Cubans and our determination to build socialism. The majority opinion of the peoples of Cuba and the United States, in favor of improved relations, and the development of civilized, respectful coexistence, will prevail.

Havana, March 4, 2019