Trump to Allow Lawsuits Against Foreign Firms in Cuba

The Administration of Donald Trump has pressed this Wednesday a key on Cuba that no other American government, independently of the political color, had dared to press in more than 20 years. Washington will let on May 2 for the first time come into force a rule according to which citizens of Cuban origin can launch an avalanche of lawsuits to claim properties from foreign companies with businesses on the island measure that opens a new and important front between States United and Europe, the main commercial partner of the Caribbean country with Spain as one of the main affected .

Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, made the announcement on a symbolic date, the anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, in 1961, when troops of Cuban exiles entered the island with support from the United States to try unsuccessfully to overthrow Fidel Castro.

In addition, as the National Security Advisor, John Bolton, advanced in a speech in Miami to veterans of that operation, new restrictions will be imposed on money remittances sent to the island, new limitations on non-family travel and measures to prevent La Havana raffles the restrictions and access currency.

Washington redoubled its pressure in a moment of escalation of sanctions also towards Venezuela and Nicaragua, whose regimes it includes under the expression “troika tyrannical”. In fact, on Wednesday the Administration also approved sanctions against Laureano Ortega, son of the president of Nicaragua, and the Corporate Bank of Nicaragua to which he blocks any assets in the US.

He also acted against the Central Bank of Venezuela and its governor, Josefa Ruzza, denying them access to the US financial system, considering them complicit in the maintenance of Nicolás Maduro in the effective power of the country.

In the case of the lawsuits in Cuba, Washington stops renewing the suspension of Title III of the well-known Helms-Burton law, by which any individual can claim before the US justice property that was confiscated in the wake of the 1959 revolution, what affects the companies that do business in the islands because many may be using those lands or other goods.

“After more than 22 years of delays, Americans will finally have an opportunity for justice,” said Pompeo. That law was approved in 1996 under the Administration of Bill Clinton, but that section was left for two decades without effect through semi-annual suspensions that were approved by all governments to avoid the collapse in the courts (tens of thousands of potential lawsuits are calculated ) and avoid a commercial battle with other countries.

“Title III was suspended with the hope that the Cuban regime would embark on a transition to democracy, but the Donald Trump Administration recognizes the reality that dictators see conciliation as a weakness.” Obama’s attempt to moderate the regime did not work. “, added the head of the American Diplomacy. The arrival of the Republican to power marked the end of the melting phase that the Democratic president had begun with Havana.

Trump again limited trips to the island and vetoed the commercial flow with the military conglomerate. But the economic embargo against the Castro regime now enters unexplored waters. When the law was passed, a study estimated up to 200,000 possible lawsuits arising from this possibility of claim. Now it is not possible to anticipate the effects.

The European Union and especially the Spanish Government has taken the lead. The new fence may harm Spanish hotel companies such as Meliá, Iberostar, Barceló or NH, with a significant presence on the island.

The Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, expressed this in his recent visit to Washington, on the occasion of the NATO summit. “I think they have been clear about the reasons why Spain would oppose that is a question of principle, which is that we refuse to accept the extraterritoriality of American laws, we believe it would be an abuse of their ability to impose norms on others. And, secondly, for the economic interests of our country, “he said after meeting with his US counterpart, Pompeo.

The United States has warned that no company will be exempt, but has tried to calm the spirits of Brussels assuring, in the words of the deputy secretary of State for Latin America, Kimberly Breier, “most European companies do not have to worry” by law, which only affects those who use properties in their day foreclosed.

Even so, the European Union and Canada said in a joint statement that they will protect the interests of their companies before the World Trade Organization (WTO), an institution that, in any case, Trump criticizes harshly.

The strategy on Cuba has gone beyond any attempt to close positions in today’s difficult trade relations with Europe. Trump’s policy does not consider Havana as an isolated problem but as a source of oxygen to Chavez in Venezuela. It is largely Cuban intelligence, according to the US, which is managing to keep Nicolás Maduro in the effective power of the Caribbean country, despite the fact that since January, the world’s leading power and some fifty countries -among them Spain- recognize to the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as president, and they demand the march of Maduro and the celebration of elections.

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