The Helms-Burton Act constitutes a direct attack on Cuba’s sovereignty and on its political and economic system. In force since 1996, the Helms-Burton Act codifies the blockade against Cuba and strengthens its international scope. The Helms-Burton Act intends to internationalize the unilateral US blockade against Cuba.
The Helms Burton Acts is composed of the following 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.
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. Finally, on 17th April US announces the full application of the Tittle III of the Helms Burton Act, allowed the Cuban and international companies be suit in American courts.
In a declaration issued last June 6th Cuba rejects the measures announced by the United States Government on 4 June 2019, further tightening the economic blockade imposed on Cuba for over 60 years, at a cost for the Cuban economy which amounted to over 134 billion dollars in 2018 at current prices, and to the figure of 933 billion dollars, taking into account the devaluation of the US dollar vis-à-vis the price of gold in the world market.
According to what has been learned, this new escalation, effective as of 5 June, further strengthens the hard restrictions already imposed on US citizens to travel to Cuba, includes an absolute ban on any vessels from the United States and immediately prohibits cruise ships from visiting our country.
The application of the US Blockade and the recent escalade has examples in Indonesia:
- Last 23 of January, 2019, the Embassy of Cuba in Indonesia requested to PT Asuransi AXA Indonesia to renew the insurance policies of diplomatic vehicles and the written replay by AXA´s branch manager informed the Embassy since Cuba is included in OFAC sanction country list, the company cannot engaging in financial transaction with any person or entity on OFAC´s sanctions list.
- Also, on 25 of January, 2019, the Embassy of Cuba in Indonesia requested to Toyota Duty Free Sales Operation Head a quotation for acquisition of a car from this brand for diplomatic use, and the written reply was that as a result of the restrictions declared by USA, the company is not allow to sell any products of Toyota and Lexus to Cuba including its foreign mission´s offices.
- Many of Indonesian applicant for tourism card to Cuba, used the cruiser modality, that allow to visit several countries, that is why it is highly probable that Indonesian citizens are among the 800,000 affected by the new measures of the government of the United States of immediately prohibits cruise ships from visiting our country.
Once again we ratify that Cuba will not let itself be frightened or distracted from the essential and urgent tasks for the development of our economy and the construction of socialism. Closely united, we shall be able to face the most challenging adversities. They cannot suffocate us, nor can they stop us.
Jakarta, June 14th, 2019
Embassy of Cuba in Indonesia.