Thursday, 23 May 2019 23:53

A Multitude of Voices against the Helms-Burton Act

Written by Granma
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More than 400 global figures have signed a statement denouncing the United States' activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act against Cuba.


Havana, Cuba.- According to teleSUR, the statement entitled "Respect for International Legality," states that such an application seriously intensifies the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. It also notes that the United States has once again broken the elementary rules of International Law by awarding domestic law an extraterritorial nature.

The document stressed that the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act marks a clear setback in the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, as announced in 2014 by Raúl Castro and Barack Obama. "We call on U.S. society, and citizens, peoples and governments of the world, of any political tendency, to express their condemnation of this measure that affects the respect and friendship that should prevail among nations," the text reads.

The signatories also demand that President Donald Trump eliminate this legislation and finally end the unjust blockade, imposed against Cuba for 60 years. "Neither blockades nor walls. The planet is one and belongs to all," it concludes.


What does Title III establish?

Title III establishes that companies from third countries will be liable to the former owners of confiscated Cuban properties or to their heirs, for damages for "trafficking" of that property.

It grants those who were not citizens of the United States at the time, whose properties were nationalized or abandoned when they left the country, the right to file claims for compensation.

It provides that United States courts may arbitrate lawsuits based on Title III within the limits of their normal jurisdiction over foreign companies, and empowers the President to suspend the entry into force of said Title, as well as to annul the right to file new lawsuits for "trafficking" at any time.

What legal instruments does the Helms-Burton violate?

Contravenes the United States Constitution and several legal norms of that country.

Violates numerous acts of International Law that regulate political, economic, commercial and financial relations between states.

Goes against freedom of trade and investment, which has generated conflicts with the U.S.' main trading partners.

Violates the principle of "financial and investment freedom" and "the subordination of subsidiaries to the resident country's laws."

Disregards the principle of "respect for the sovereignty of the acts of other nations."

Does not recognize the free movement of people based on trade.

Goes against bilateral treaties on Investment Protection and bilateral trade agreements with many countries.

Violates the recognized principle that "property ownership is established in accordance with the laws of the country where it is located."

Title III is unprecedented in U.S legal history.

Congress assumed a judicial function by decreeing that Cuban property confiscations were illegal, when the nationalizations respected the principles of International Law and it was the U.S. government that refused to accept compensation.

Taken from Granma

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