US extends embargo against Cuba

 The United States announced on Wednesday (16) that they intend to reverse the suspension of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which should extend the US embargo against Cuba. The measure will allow, for example, US citizens to file lawsuits in US civilian courts against foreign companies in Cuba that use confiscated properties of Cuban Americans and US citizens during the revolution.
 The decision should create problems for European and Canadian companies doing business with Cuba and still impose a heavy blow on the communist regime's efforts to attract foreign investment.
"Tomorrow, the United States will end 20 years of suspension of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act," said a top White House official, who asked for anonymity.
 In addition, the source said the Donald Trump administration will begin to apply Title IV of the law, which restricts entry into the United States of "persons possessing properties confiscated from American citizens."
 The formal announcement will be made by the State Department and confirmed by White House National Security adviser John Bolton in a speech he will make in Miami to announce further sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
 Several EU countries have asked the US government not to suspend the application of Title III of the law, enacted in 1996, because it could affect European companies.
 The title was created to allow Americans, including naturalized Cubans, to go to court to prosecute companies that benefited from properties confiscated by the Fidel Castro-led revolution in 1959.
When the law was passed 23 years ago, the EU and other countries with business interests on the island fiercely opposed it because they feared the block companies would be prosecuted in the US. Therefore, the EU has denounced the United States to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The litigation was terminated with the US commitment to keep title III suspended in exchange for withdrawal of the complaint, but the Trump government's decision breaks that agreement with the EU.
 "The Europeans have had more than 24 years of suspension to profit from stolen properties of American citizens," said the senior official of the Trump government.
 According to the source, the US does not plan to grant exemption to foreign companies that may be affected by the move. "I think the Europeans understood that we were close to that decision when they visited Washington two weeks ago for the meeting of NATO foreign ministers," the source said.
Asked about the possibility of the EU resorting to the WTO again, the Trump government official said Europeans have the right to sue the United States. "And we have the right to see them fail," he said.
 The measure is yet another step in the White House's crackdown on Cuba. The Trump government blames the island for Nicolas Maduro's stay in power in Venezuela.


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