The Trump administration is threatening in the next 15 days to unleash what no US. president has ever done, and which could be a huge obstacle to normalizing US/Cuba economic relations for decades to come. According to the National Lawyers Guild this looming threat to activate Title III of the 1996 Helms Burton and authorize tens of thousands of private suits against US and foreign entities for allegedly “trafficking” in property confiscated in Cuba since 1959 in essence creates “a second embargo, and one that would be very difficult to dismantle in the future.” See https://www.nlg.org/nlg–ic
The Latin American Working Group sent out the following Action Alert on this, asking us to contact Congress and request that our Senators and Representatives reach out to the White House and the State Department; and to call directly to the National Security Council and the Cuba desk at State to protest the consideration of this action. PLEASE SEE & ACT ON THIS, and share with your contacts. We have only a few days to try to mount sufficient opposition to convince the administration that this would be detrimental not only to the people of Cuba first of all, but also to U.S. businesses for the foreseeable future, as well as to clog our courts with unpredictable and unmanageable litigation.
Art Heitzer, for the NLG Cuba subcommittee
[According to the U.S. Government, “The embargo on Cuba is the most comprehensive set of American sanctions ever imposed on a country.” (U.S. GAO report, Nov. 2007); it is also the oldest, still in place for some 57 years. –A.H.]
TAKE ACTION to #SuspendHBTitleIII >>We all know the U.S. embargo on Cuba is a bogus and outdated policy that has done nothing but hamper our relationship with the island nation and hurt everyday Cuban people. Yet, the Trump Administration is now thinking about fortifying
The Helms-Burton Act is a central part of the embargo on Cuba: it officially writes the reactionary policy into law, prohibiting any president from unilaterally lifting it. Specifically, Title III allows U.S. nationals who owned property in Cuba that was seized by the Cuban government after the 1959 Revolution to sue U.S. and foreign companies for profiting from their former properties. What’s so egregious is that many of these are people who were Cuban citizens at the time. The infamous Title III has been waived every six months by every U.S. president since Helms-Burton came into effect in March 1996.
Though the Trump Administration has previously waived Title III, on January 16, Trump suspended Title III for only 45 days, instead of the usual six months, and is now conducting “a careful review” of the impact of allowing this problematic provision to go into effect. Call out the administration’s regressive stance on Cuba!>>
An activation of Title III would undoubtedly unleash a flood of lawsuits, clogging up U.S. courts and discouraging any U.S. or foreign investment in Cuba out of fear of being sued. In fact, the State Department estimates that there could be an avalanche of claims—over 200,000—if Title III were allowed to go into effect. Congressional leaders like Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA-2) are strenuously pushing back. Now, it’s our turn to stand up!
If Trump gets away with this, it will have a disastrous effect on U.S.-Cuba relations for decades. And, more importantly, it would severely hurt Cubans and the Cuban economy.
x CALL the White House! Tell the Trump Administration to continue waiving Helms-Burton Title III. You can use the following phone numbers to leave a voice message:
Suggested Script: “Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] from [YOUR STATE] and I am calling to urge President Trump to continue waiving Title III of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996.”
x CALL and EMAIL your members of Congress! Urge your representative and two senators to:
- Contact the White House and the Department of State to demand the continued suspension of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, and to publicly support the waiving of Title III and denounce the administration’s inclination to allow the provision to go into effect.
Go to www.govtrack.us/congress/
Suggested Script: “Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I live in [YOUR CITY, STATE]. I am calling to urge [NAME OF REPRESENTATIVE OR SENATOR] to contact the White House and the U.S. Department of State to demand the continued suspension of Title III of rhe Helms-Burton Act of 1996. This provision, which has been waived by every president since 1996, would unleash a flood of lawsuits, which would end up clogging up U.S. courts and discouraging both U.S. and foreign companies from doing business in Cuba out of fear of being sued. Allowing Title III to go into effect will have a disastrous effect on U.S.-Cuba relations and will severely hurt everyday Cubans. Again, I urge [NAME OF REPRESENTATIVE OR SENATOR] to contact the White House and State Department to demand the suspension of Title III. I also encourage them to publicly support the waiving of Title III. Thank you!”
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