Cuba Facing Threat to Activate Chapter III of Helms-Burton


Havana, Feb 27 (Prensa Latina) The U.S. decision, made public in January, whether or not to activate Chapter III of the Helms-Burton Act in 45 days has affected Cuba since the actual announcement, researcher Olga Rosa Gonzalez said Wednesday.
In an interview with Prensa Latina, the deputy director of the Center for Hemispheric and U.S. Studies (CEHSEU) explained that it can influence what is called the perception of risk on Cuba in companies or people from other countries with an interest in investing.

According to Chapter III of the Helms-Burton Act, which can become effective in March, Washington authorizes any U.S. citizen or company to file lawsuits in the U.S. courts to claim compensation for properties nationalized after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

According to the specialist, only this measure’s announcement causes uncertainty and as a result those interested in investing in Cuba wait until Washington’s final decision.

The United States-Cuba Trade and Economic Council reported on its website that the federal claims agency certified 5,913 cases out of more than 8,000 filed so far.

His calculations suggest the value is about 9 billion dollars, taking into account interest earned over the years, she said.

The largest claim this commission has recognized is that of the Cuban electricity company and the second that of AT&T, the former International Telephone and Telegraph Company; and so there are others, related to hotels, etcetera’ she added.

Gonzalez assured the justification given is the losses they attribute as a result of the nationalization process occurred in Cuba in 1960.

The researcher pointed out that the Cuban authorities did it under international norms, but the White House did not have the political will to negotiate with the Cuba like other countries, including Canada and Spain, which received compensation.

For experts, triggering such a measure could slow the economic development of the Caribbean nation, already hit by the more than 55-year blockade imposed by the United States, as it would have a significant impact on the projected investment program until 2030.

She also recalled that since the entry into force of the Helms Burton Act in 1996, U.S. administrations did not dare to give light – suspending it for six months – to the application of Chapter III because of the damage its effectiveness could cause to other nations, including allies, and even to the U.S.

However, the current government headed by President Donald Trump decided to reduce the period of time for the analysis of its activation or not, which experts see as a measure to tighten the economic, commercial and financial blockade that Washington has imposed on Cuba for more than 55 years’, she reiterated.

Cuban government has warned about the serious impact of the application of Chapter III on already damaged bilateral relations.

In that sense, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez rejected the decision to reduce to 45 days – the U.S. presidents had been doing it for six months – describing it as irresponsible political blackmail and hostility to tighten the blockade on Cuba.

He also denounced the White House policy expressed in the law as an attack on international law and third countries.

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