New US coverage on seized property in Cuba threatens EU ties | Information | DW


The Trump administration will ramp up strain in opposition to Cuba by permitting US nationals to file lawsuits in opposition to overseas firms doing enterprise on the island.

The main coverage shift units the stage for recent economic disputes between the US and Europe. It additionally marks a brand new escalation in Washington’s coverage to hammer Havana over its help for Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Nationwide Safety Adviser John Bolton will announce the coverage change throughout a speech Wednesday in Miami, which is dwelling to exiles and immigrants from Cuba, a senior administration official stated Tuesday. The speech may also be used to announce new sanctions on Venezuela and Nicaragua, two leftist allies of Communist Cuba.

Helms-Burton Act

The US choice to finish a two-decade waiver to a part of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act might expose US, European and Canadian firms to billions of {dollars} in authorized claims and undermine Cuba’s makes an attempt to draw extra overseas funding at a time of financial disaster triggered partly by steep cuts in sponsored Venezuelan oil. 

Learn extra: Venezuela crisis: Is Cuba’s oil supply under threat?

Title III of the Act gave Individuals who fled Cuba the correct to take authorized motion in US courts in opposition to largely European firms working out of properties Cuba nationalized following the island’s 1959 revolution.

As well as, the administration will start to implement Title IV of the Act, which requires the denial of US visas to those that “confiscate or ‘visitors’ in confiscated property in Cuba claimed by US nationals.”

Each US president since Invoice Clinton has issued waivers to the Act out of concern it will spark commerce disputes with allies and a mountain of lawsuits in US courts that may stop any future settlement with Cuba over nationalized properties.

Cuba has stated it will reimburse the homeowners of nationalized properties, however provided that it have been reimbursed for billions of {dollars} in damages trigger by a six-decade US commerce embargo.

EU threatens commerce dispute 

The European Union, which is Cuba’s largest buying and selling associate, has warned it might problem the US at the World Commerce Group if it tries to intervene in enterprise ties between sovereign states.

EU envoy to Havana Alberto Navarro informed reporters that the bloc “strongly condemns” the transfer.

“This may create much more confusion for overseas investments which might be serving to create jobs and prosperity in Cuba,” he stated.

The announcement comes because the Trump administration has angered European allies over the withdrawal from the Paris local weather accords, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and amid brewing commerce disputes between Washington and Brussels.

Europe has backed the United States in making use of strain on Venezuela’s Maduro, however opening a commerce dispute and hitting Cuba’s fragile economic system might result in shedding help from key allies equivalent to Spain.

Learn extra: How much influence does Cuba have over Venezuela?

US hardliners push regime change, ignore allies 

William LeoGrande, a professor at American College who specializes on Latin America, stated hardline interventionists within the Trump administration have adopted a coverage of regime change in the direction of Venezuela and Cuba.

“They hope that by toppling the Venezuelan authorities and reducing off oil exports to Cuba, they’ll result in an financial disaster in Cuba that causes political collapse there as properly,” he informed DW.

The Trump administration’s coverage is designed “to scare away overseas contractors and buyers, leaving Cuba wanting the capital it must develop its economic system, and aggravating the financial disaster,” LeoGrande stated.

Europe has lobbied Washington to not finish waivers to the Act exposing overseas companies to lawsuits after the Trump administration signaled earlier it will upend beforehand coverage. 

“Now it seems that the issues of the EU are going to be ignored, regardless of the EU’s efforts to be useful fixing the disaster in Venezuela,” LeoGrande stated. “It’s one more instance of the Trump administration’s unilateralism and contempt for conventional allies.”

US-Cuba relations have plummeted underneath Trump following a historic rapprochement underneath the Obama administration, when the 2 nations re-established diplomatic relations.

cw/se (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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