The Helms-Burton Act: A silenced Story (I)

The trap

By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

Since the beginning of this year the United States State Department has issued several announcements on the partial suspension of the implementation of some aspects of a chapter of the so-called Helms-Burton Act. It has been done so with a cheating style, fraudulent, characteristic of the current rulers, with the clear intention of creating uncertainty and confusion, purpose for which they count, as usual, with the means they were supposed to devote themselves to reporting. 

First of all it must be said that it is in fact a secondary aspect of the mentioned Law, absurd Pseudo Juridical that grossly violates International Law, whose illegality and aggression in nothing change, apply or not the so vaunted suspension. The question is whether or not to open, now, the possibility of filing lawsuits before American courts for acts performed outside their jurisdiction, in this case in the territory of the Republic of Cuba. As such litigation could affect foreign companies with investments in the Island; the issue provoked the rejection of other countries and led to the European Union presenting in 1996 a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization. The matter was then sealed when Washington pledged to suspend action before its courts which, religiously, have done every six months Clinton, W. Bush, Obama, even Trump.

It was a repeated exercise for more than twenty years until last January 16th it was announced that this time the suspension would be for 45 days. When that period expired in March they made known that they would extend it for another 30 days although adding that from the 19 of that month they would allow the filing of lawsuits before their Courts against some 200 Cuban companies arbitrarily included in a list made by Washington. Again in April they extended the term for two weeks, up to the first of May keeping the exception against Cuban entities. 

Already in 1996 Fidel Castro had anticipated that the suspension clause was a "teasing". Since last January, twenty-three years later, Mr. Pompeo appears, in pose hesitant, "striping the petals of the Daisy" making fun of every one especially of its European allies turning into wet paper the commitment signed with them. 
This replay serves; above all, to divert attention from the fundamental, that which is scarcely spoken and what I would like to refer to by relying on the benevolence of the readers for This! 

The Helms-Burton has four Chapters or Titles. The First becomes the Law in all the measures, which until then were executive decisions and make up the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba and expand it and try to extend it throughout the planet. The infamous policy, so codified, could only be eliminated by a decision of both Chambers of Congress. 

The Second describes, with a certain level of detail, what would happen from the hypothetical defeat of the Cuban Revolution as a result of the economic war. There would be what they call "transitional period" during which the dismantling of all the institutions of Cuban society would occur and the country would be under total American dominance. So that no one can doubt the process it would be headed by an American official appointed by the President of the United States whom the Law modestly calls the Coordinator for the transition in Cuba. This true Proconsul was appointed by W. Bush although he never fulfilled his errand on the Island. He had to devote himself to promoting outside Cuba the Plan for the transition that Bush, complying with the Law, presented to the Congress in 2004 and in an extended version in 2006 and that no one has repealed. 

Throughout Title II is repeated with monotonous insistence that for the elimination of the Blockade and future relations with a supposed post-revolutionary Cuba an indispensable condition will be the return of their properties to those who lost the First of January of 1959 (subject to which I will have to return later).

So Far, with Title I and Title II, the Helms-Burton is a text that tramples on International Law at the end of the day. Its extraterritorial character is more than obvious because the Cuban archipelago is not part of the territory under the jurisdiction of Washington.

In addition to the foregoing, the Helms-Burton added a Title III that establishes the possibility of promoting legal action before North American courts against companies or persons who use in any way properties claimed by those who, allegedly, were their owners or their descendants. This Title includes an article that allows the President to suspend the initiation of such actions for half-yearly periods, subject to which I devoted the initial part of this writing.

Finally, Title IV, which has been applied on several occasions, denies the visa to enter the United States of businessmen and their families who use property that is the object of claim. 

The Helms-Burton, remember the warning that very early made Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. The Father of the Cuban Homeland, in 1870, discovered that "the secret" of American politics was "to seize Cuba." Thanks to Helms and Burton the plans of the Empire appear in the daylight. That they can make them reality is, of course, something quite different. From Céspedes to Fidel the Cubans have shown that they will be able to fight to the end and that they will never be slaves to anyone again.

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