Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Trump Administration Announces Measures Against Cuba, Venezuela And Nicaragua

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks about the Trump administration's Cuba policy during a press briefing at the US Department of State EU, Canada reject Trump’s Cuba sanctions policy
Patty Aguilar | 18 April, 2019, 21:01

It comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced earlier in the day that the country would suspend waivers it first imposed in 1996 that prevented American citizens from launching lawsuits over property seized in Cuba.

The United States is restricting travel to Cuba and how much money Americans can send to family members in the Caribbean nation, national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday.

"We take them away", Bolton said. "Sometimes regimes that look alike are treated differently because in the constellation of American interest, our relationship with them and the circumstances we face is different, and I don't think we need to make any apologies for that - not this administration, or not other administrations".

The European Union issued a statement last week to urge the administration not to move forward with the move, threatening lawsuits against the U.S.at the World Trade Organization and to allow counter suits in European courts if it did.

USA officials left no doubt that the Helms-Burton decision, which takes effect on May 2, is part of the Trump administration's effort to force Cuba to abandon Maduro, something Havana has insisted it will not do.

It was signed by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, along with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

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He referred to a section of the 1996 LIBERTAD Act, also known as the Helms-Burton Act, which granted American nationals the right to file lawsuits against foreign firms and citizens that profit from the property which was nationalised by Cuba after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.

"Any person or company doing business in Cuba should heed this announcement", Pompeo said.

The U.S. has certified 6,000 claims by Americans for confiscated property seized by the Castro regime that were worth $2 billion in total at the time they were confiscated, according to the Department of Justice's Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. "This decision punishes the Cuban people and American companies - companies who were given permission by the USA government to do business and are now having the rug pulled from underneath them".

The move, which could deal a blow to the Cuban government's efforts to attract foreign investment, marks a further step by Trump to roll back parts of the historic opening to Cuba, an old Cold War foe, under his predecessor, Barack Obama.

"The EU will consider all options at its disposal to protect its legitimate interests, including in relation to its WTO rights and through the use of the EU Blocking Statute", EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a joint statement. The speech at the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association is to be delivered on the 58th anniversary of the failed USA invasion of the island in 1961, an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government. The act even allows lawsuits by Cubans who became USA citizens years after their properties were taken. ". We Cubans are not surrendering". Cuba has said it is willing to reimburse the owners of confiscated properties, but only if the communist government is also reimbursed for billions of dollars in damages generated by the six-decade U.S. trade embargo.

Peters said he also believed the new measure could hurt the Trump administration's effort to force Maduro from power with help from allies like Spain.

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