A failed policy dusted off
Twenty-three years have passed since the Helms-Burton Act was approved. Its authors are barely remembered, but Cuba is still here, free and sovereign, and more committed than ever to our social project
Elson Concepción Pérezfebruary 28, 2019 10:02:36
Photo: Jose M. Correa
In March of 1996, the U.S. government approved the Helms-Burton Act, intent upon starving Cuba and not content with the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed in 1962. They have yet to learn that Cuba knows how to defend itself, most importantly with our dignity and resistance.
In this country, where things change little if a Democrat or Republican is elected, it was Bill Clinton who signed the Helms-Burton, to appease the most reactionary sectors of the anti-Cuban mafia in South Florida.
Its purpose, from the economic point of view, was to put a brake on foreign investment here, by any means available.
Title III of the law, which the Trump administration has now dusted off, authorizes U.S. nationals to file claims in U.S. courts against any foreigner who “traffics” with properties that were nationalized in Cuba in the 1960s, in a legitimate process that was recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States, and carried out by the Cuban government in full compliance with national and international law.
(Any investor in a Cuban state enterprise with assets that belonged to a U.S. company, 60 years ago, could be targeted. Given the international outcry about such a preposterous law, Title III has been suspended by successive U.S. Presidents since its early years. Breaking with this pattern, Trump recently suspended the provision for only 45 days.)
Twenty-three years have passed since the Helms-Burton Act was approved. Its authors are barely remembered, but Cuba is still here, free and sovereign, and more committed than ever to our social project, as evidenced by the approval of our new Constitution with 86.85% of voters casting a YES ballot.