Conference on Cuba, faced with renewal of Helms-Burton

Carlos Fazio, Pablo González Casanova and Pedro Núñez during the debate in the UNAM.

By: Arturo Sánchez Jiménez

“Cuba’s dilemma is independence or annexation to the United States; that’s the way it has been for 200 years and the Cuban people resolved it positively with the revolution that triumphed on January 1, 1959,” Pedro Núñez Mosquera, the Cuban ambassador to Mexico, said yesterday.

In a conference at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the diplomat spoke of the Helms-Burton law, whose Title III was activated in April by President Donald Trump. This law, he said, “seeks to suffocate the island, but the people of Cuba will not let their homes and hospitals be snatched away, just as we have not allowed ourselves to be stripped of our conquered independence.”

In the gathering Cuba frente a la ley Helms-Burton, the former rector of UNAM Pablo González Casanova, said that at this moment, the government of Mexico, led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, “can represent a very positive element” for the island. “We have to support measures to support the brother country” taken by the federal administration.

He asserted that Mexico’s aid to the Caribbean country vis-a-vis the United States is a “possibility that did not exist in previous [presidential] mandates. He added that the left must be very precise “not to be in favor or against, in absolute terms”, of the government’s positions, but “to recognize that there are measures that even make it very difficult for many people to take positions”, and invited everyone to adopt the position that they believe is best, “without thinking that everyone should have that because it is perfect. I would say that is the way to reason, although it is very difficult.”

The Helms-Burton Act was passed by Bill Clinton in 1996 to sanction the Havana government for shooting down two US planes. The third title allows its citizens to sue against nationalized or confiscated properties in Cuba in the 1960s. [1]

Núñez Mosquera pointed out that the historical conditions that Cuba has faced are similar to those of Puerto Rico, but with different results. While the first is an independent state, the second is “a colony of the United States euphemistically called Commonwealth.”

He said that after the revolution, all nationalizations of the government of Havana were made with compensation. “All were resolved with other countries, such as Spain, except the United States, which did not accept them because they already had plans to do the same as in Guatemala, where in 1954 they sent a group of mercenaries. And they did it in 1961, but they were defeated. ”

He argued that Title III of Helms-Burton “is something incredible in terms of extraterritoriality. No country that respects itself and that has sovereignty can accept similar pretension. ” He pointed out that this law has provoked international rejection since its creation, such as that of the European Union, Mexico, Canada and other countries.

He explained that in 59 years, the economic blockade imposed by the United States has left losses for Cuba for $933.678 billion dollars.

The academic Carlos Fazio pointed out that the law seeks to erase Cuba’s sovereign right to nationalization and expropriation of property of foreigners and nationals with the terms of compensation that for the purposes are considered in accordance with international law.”Because of its extraterritorial nature, the legislative monster -which has no jurisdiction in Cuba- violates the recognized principles that the ownership of a property is established in accordance with the laws of the country where it is located, the freedom of financing and investment, and the subordination of subsidiary companies to the laws of the resident nation. ”

[1] In April, the Trump administration announced that starting May 2, 2019 U.S. citizens (a great many of them of Cuban origin) who had their property in Cuba confiscated after the 1959 Revolution may sue in U.S. courts any foreign company that benefits from their property, under Title 3 of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act. That announcement is what occasioned the gathering reported above. Title 3 has been suspended by previous presidents due to strenuous objections from the European Union.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, May 24, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



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