Cuban envoy slams US threat of activating suspended law

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet</p> <p>ANKARA (AA) – Cuban envoy in Ankara has criticized the U.S. administration’s announcement that Washington will consider allowing a law, which has been suspended since its enactment in 1996, into effect.</p> <p>On Jan. 16, the U.S. State Department announced the country has extended the suspension of application of Title III of Helms-Burton Act only for 45 days rather than the customary six months. </p> <p>The Helms-Bolton Act is a law in the U.S. enacted in 1996, which hardens the embargo against Cuba.</p> <p>Since the enactment of the law, all subsequent U.S. governments keep suspending the application of Title III of the act that allows U.S. citizens to sue foreign companies and individuals for “trafficking” over property confiscated by the Cuban government decades ago.</p> <p>In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Luis Alberto Amoros Nunez, Cuban ambassador in Turkey, said: &quot;It seems that the US government is thinking very seriously to lift a full suspension of the Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.&quot;</p> <p>Nunez said it means anyone can sue foreign entrepreneurs, including Turkish citizens, in Cuba.</p> <p>He said the lifting of the suspension is contrary to international law and the embargo against Cuba is already criticized by majority of the countries in the UN every year.</p> <p>&quot;This will tighten the embargo even more,&quot; he said.</p> <p>The envoy said the application of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act will complicate the negotiations between Cuba and the U.S. regarding the nationalization of U.S. properties in Cuba in the 1960s.</p> <p>Nunez said the application of Title III has always been suspended by the previous U.S. administrations, as it is considered complicated because of its extraterritorial nature.</p> <p>In a statement on Jan.16, the U.S. State Department said that Title III of the act was suspended for 45 days “to conduct a careful review […] in light of the national interests of the United States and efforts to expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba and include factors such as the Cuban regime’s brutal oppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms and its indefensible support for increasingly authoritarian and corrupt regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua.&quot;</p> <p>“We encourage any person doing business in Cuba to reconsider whether they are trafficking in confiscated property and abetting this dictatorship,” the statement added.</p> <p>Referring to the statement, Nunez said: &quot;Cuba totally rejects this announcement. I think that is a very irresponsible and hostile action against Cuba.&quot;</p> <p>Helms-Bolton Act is also called Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 in the U.S.</p> <p>The act was previously condemned by the Council of Europe, the EU, the U.K., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and others which have trade relations with Cuba. These countries have stated that the act is against the spirit of international law and sovereignty.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>- Cuba against aggression on Venezuela</p> <p>Speaking on recent developments in Venezuela, Nunez said: &quot;We are totally against the aggression toward Venezuela.&quot;</p> <p>Nunez said Cuba condemned the “coup attempt” in Venezuela being carried out &quot;to impose a puppet government at the service of the U.S.&quot;</p> <p>He said Cuba expressed its support and solidarity to the constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro.</p> <p>The leader of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, Juan Guaido, declared himself acting president last week.</p> <p>U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Guaido as president of the country shortly afterward. Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and Paraguay have followed suit while Bolivia and Mexico continue to recognize Maduro. </p> <p>Russia and China both opposed the U.S. call to support Guaido, and condemned any international interference in Venezuela. Turkey and Iran have also supported Maduro.</p> <p>Referring to Turkish-Cuban relations, Nunez said the bilateral relations between the two countries are “good.”</p> <p>Nunez said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Cuba in 2015 and had a very good meeting with then Cuban President Raul Castro. </p> <p>He said reciprocal visits between the two countries have been strengthening the bilateral relations.</p> <p>&quot;Turkey has been very clear against the embargo, blockade we would say, on Cuba,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;Turkish people are proud, humble people and people that we like a lot in Cuba,&quot; the ambassador added.