Cuban Lawyer Describes Helms-Burton Act as a Monstrosity

Havana, Mar 5 (Prensa Latina) The Helms-Burton Act is a legal monstrosity to try to suffocate the Cuban Revolution and the people, according to Dorys Quintana Cruz, vice president of the Cuban Society of International Law of the National Union of Jurists.

It is a US law that has an extraterritorial nature and four titles that deserve the classification of illicit, genocidal, interfering and against International Law, the lawyer and professor of International Law told Prensa Latina.

According to the expert, although all titles of the act, which was approved in 1996 and codifies the blockade imposed on Cuba, are equally reproachable, it is worth referring to the third one, due to the force of the issue, as the current US administration on Monday announced its enforcement against more than 200 Cuban companies.

So far, the presidents of the United Stated had postponed the implementation of Title III for six months, but in January, Donald Trump did so for just 45 days, while the Department of State extended the enforcement of the title for another 30 days on Monday, but it allowed filing lawsuits against institutions included in a list of unilateral sanctions as of March 19.

Quintana Cruz described the US stance as dangerous and irresponsible for both countries, and recalled that Cuba has never yielded to Washington’s threats and aggressions.

According to the jurist, among the consequences from enforcing Title III would be the promotion of trials against investors from third countries who invest in nationalized properties in Cuba.

Title III of the Helms-Burton Act establishes the authorization to US nationals to file lawsuits in US courts against foreigners for ‘trafficking’ in properties that were nationalized in 1960, and extends that authorization to proprietors who were not US citizens at the time of the nationalizations, she added.

In some cases, lawsuits will be filed on properties that no one has certified, she warned.

According to Quintana Cruz, it would be good to differentiate nationalization from confiscation.

Nationalization is a principle contained in the United Nations Charter, whose foundation we took into account when drawing up Cuban laws and nationalizing properties from the United States and other countries at the beginning of the Revolution that triumphed on January 1, 1959, she noted.

Those measures were based on legality and under the umbrella of International Law. The expert underlined that there is no doubt that nationalizations carry compensation, a scenario that was complied with other countries and that Cuba has never refused to respect in the case of the United States, whose government ruled out negotiations.

Regarding confiscations, it is the act of seizing or depriving of the possession of assets without compensation, transferring them to the treasury. This procedure is adopted due to different reasons, including violating the law or considering that the assets are ill-gotten.

The expert recalled that on November 2, 1999, Havana’s Provincial Court ruled in favor of the lawsuit by the Cuban people against the US Government for human damages and sentenced it to compensate them for 181.1 billion dollars at the time.

On May 5, 2000, the United States was also sentenced for economic damages worth 121 billion dollars. It is Cuba that has the right to file complaints after six decades of aggressions, Quintana Cruz noted.

According to the vice president of the Cuban Society of International Law of the National Union of Jurists, another matter to be taken into consideration is the force of Law 80 of Reaffirmation of Dignity and Sovereignty, approve in December 1996 to reject the Helms-Burton Act, which the National Assembly of Cuba described at the time as an attempt at the colonial reabsorption of the Caribbean Island.

We repeat that the Helms-Burton Act is extraterritorial, genocidal, inapplicable and lacks juridical effect or value, she stressed.

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