In force since 1996, the Helms-Burton Act codifies the blockade against Cuba and strengthens its international scope.
Related Information: On 12 March 1996, US President William Clinton signed the Public Act No. 104-114, “Cuban Liberty and Democratic (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996”, commonly known as the Helms-Burton Act because of the names of their Republican sponsors North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms and Indiana Representative Dan Burton.
- The Helms-Burton Act constitutes a direct attack on Cuba’s sovereignty and on its political and economic system.
Related Information: The Helms-Burton Act is composed of four Titles.
- Title I aims to internationally strengthen application of the blockade and economic sanctions against Cuba.
- Title II establishes a sort of political “transition” plan in Cuba and of US intervention in the future of our country.
- Title III proposes that persons claiming holdings that were nationalized or expropriated in Cuba, including persons who at that time were not American citizens, must be protected. Therefore it establishes a group of rules that include the possibility of filing lawsuits in US courts on entities “trafficking” with those holdings. The possibility of suing the beneficiaries of the “trafficking” has been suspended consistently from 1996 until the present.
- Title IV prohibits the entry into the United States of executives and their families and of the owners of entities “trafficking” with nationalized or expropriated holdings.
- The Helms-Burton Act intends to internationalize the unilateral US blockade against Cuba.
Related Information: The Helms-Burton Act intends to nationalize the blockade by means of coercive measures against third countries, in order to interrupt their investment and trade relations with Cuba and to submit those sovereign States to the will of the United States.
- The Helms-Burton Act intends to cancel the sovereign rights of a country to nationalize and expropriate foreign and national assets.
- The Helms-Burton Act intends to prevent that all nations determine compensation terms in a sovereign manner and in accordance with international law.
- The aim of the Helms-Burton Act is to impose a government in Cuba, to recover US dominion over the island and to incorporate it into its geopolitical strategy.
Related Information: Those intentions trace a continuous line through the various instruments and mechanisms used by the US for this aim during 12 different administrations. The Torricelli Act of 1992 and the 2004 Bush Plan are irrefutable demonstrations of that.
Title III of the Helms-Burton Act
- On 16 January 2019, the US State Department announced its decision to suspend application of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act for just 45 days, contrary to the practice assumed since 1996 by US presidents who had made use of their executive prerogative to suspend application of said title every six months.
- On 4 March 2019, the US State Department announced it would extend suspension of the application of legal actions conceived by Title III of the Helms-Burton Act for 30 days. It also overstepped the decision to permit lawsuits to be filed in US courts against companies included on the List of Restricted Cuban Entities, under this chapter; this constituted an escalation of the aggressive behavior of the current Administration against Cuba.
- The measure directly attacks Cuban entities, seeking to put a stranglehold on the country’s economy and to impose additional roadblocks to its development. For the time being, the interests of important US trading partners who at the same time maintain a presence in Cuba are not being affected.
- Last March 4th’s announcement does not exactly mean that this is a final decision in regards to application of Title III for Cuba. The term of the 30 days of its suspension will be used to evaluate new alternatives, in such a way that this chapter can continue to be applied partially, even totally.
- The announcement of broadening the List of Restricted Cuban Entities seeks to have a twofold negative impact, given the implications inclusion on the List would generate per se and by the increase in lawsuits that could be produced in US courts under Title III.
- We cannot rule out that the legal actions conceived by Title III are activated to do damage to foreign investors in Cuba; this would reinforce the blockade, flagrantly violate international law and would directly attack the sovereignty and interests of third countries.
- The aim of suffocating the Cuban Revolution and wiping our socialism has been common to all US governments.
- If Title III of the Helms-Burton Act would be applied, any Cuban man and woman and every community in the country would see how lawsuits would be filed in US courts for ownership of the homes they are occupying, the schools attended by their children, the polyclinics where they get medical care and the land on which they built their neighborhoods.
- Title III of the Helms-Burton Act intends to seize the wealth of the country from Cuba, the infrastructure, the agricultural land, the industries, the mining resources, the energy potential and the bases upon which science and technology is developed and services are provided to the population.
The Bush Plan and the Helms-Burton Act
- The Bush Plan was the implementation of the basic ideas of the Helms-Burton Act.
Related Information: The Bush Plan constituted the official policy of the US government during the presidency of George W. Bush.
It was an interventionist plan destined to overthrow the Revolution and to dismantle the Cuban constitutional system, openly contemptuous of the principles enshrined in International law and the UN Charter.
It did not limit itself to recommending the measures considered to be necessary to overthrow the Cuban revolutionary government but it describes the plan that has to be applied in order to erase every last vestige of socialism, reinstall the capitalist system in Cuba and create conditions to encourage the country’s annexation to the united States.
It constituted the legitimization of the so-called Bush doctrine of “change of regime” for the case of Cuba and it represented the escalated aggressiveness of the US government against Cuba. It was issued in May of 2004 and updated in July of 2006.
- Both the implementation of the Bush Plan and the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act are violations of International Law and have as their objective the overthrow of the Cuban Revolution.
- Just like the current policy of President Trump, the Bush Plan involved an even greater strengthening of the blockade, intensification of subversion and the propaganda warfare, and total reinforcement of the US offensive to internationalize its policy against Cuba.
- One of the fundamental measures proposed by the Bush Plan was the total or selective application of Title II of the Helms-Burton Act. But Bush suspended its application every six months.
- The Bush Plan envisaged privatization of health services and education as measures of the “transition government”; the elimination of the social security system; returning nationalized holdings to US citizens and to the Cubans who subsequently acquired US citizenship, among other actions, which would obliterate all the social achievements of our system.
- With the Bush Plan the US reinforced its offensive to promote its policy against Cuba and to try to achieve international support, just as the senior officials of the trump administration are trying to do today.
- The hostile rhetoric of the US government towards Cuba tends to take up again the aggressive attitude of the Bush Plan and the Helms-Burton Act: both of these are documents counter to all the rules of international law and of relations between nations.
- The group of measures gathered together in the Bush Plan and in Title III of the Helms-Burton Act sketch out what would constitute an open interventionist action in the affairs of Cuba and the encouragement of counterrevolutionary subversion.
- The contents of the Bush Plan and Title III of the Helms-Burton Act openly signal the interest of the United States to promote so-called dissidents, to increase illegal radio and television broadcasts to Cuba, to suffocate the national economy, to spread propaganda about the supposed military threat of Cuba and to increase international campaigns to shatter the prestige of the Cuban government.
- The creation of a Taskforce by the current US government to broaden internet access for Cuba seeks to subvert internal order and to encourage a channel for destabilization, just as the designs of the documents of past administrations (the Bush Plan or Title III of the Helms-Burton Act) tried to do.
- The US government materializes its interventionist aims in documents such as the Bush Plan or Title III of the Helms-Burton Act by maintaining illegal radio and television broadcasts, as well as million dollar funds destined for these and other projects that violate Cuban constitutional order and attack our sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
- The plans of the US government to promote a transition government in Cuba found in the Bush Plan or Title III of the Helms-Burton Act seem to reappear in the current context in order to be applied in Cuba and in Venezuela.