Cuba categorically rejects the threat of activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba.

On January 16, 2019, the United States State Department announced the decision to suspend for only 45 days the application of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, “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.”

The government of President Donald Trump threatens to take a new step that would dangerously reinforce the blockade against Cuba, flagrantly violate International Law, and directly attack the sovereignty and interests of third countries.

Cuba rejects this threat in the most energetic, firm and categorical way. It regards it as a hostile act of extreme arrogance and irresponsibility, while condemning the disrespectful and slanderous language of the State Department’s public message.

The Helms-Burton Act came into force in 1996. It was devised to codify and tighten the economic, commercial and financial blockade policy, officially imposed in 1962, with the aim of subverting and overthrowing the Cuban government, and imposing a regime to the liking of the United States government.

It consists of four titles and has been applied since its promulgation. It is characterized by its extreme extraterritorial scope, as it violates the norms and principles of International Law, contravenes the rules of international trade and economic relations, and is harmful to the sovereignty of other States, in particular through the application of its provisions against companies and people established in their territory.

It has been almost unanimously rejected by the international community in the United Nations, in specialized international organizations, and in regional organizations such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the African Union. Several countries have national laws to deal with the extraterritorial effects of this law.

Among the key objectives of the Helms-Burton Act is to hamper Cuba’s economic, commercial and financial relations with third countries, and undermine its ability to attract direct foreign capital investment for its development. Titles III and IV of the law are expressly devoted to this purpose.

Title III establishes the authorization for United States nationals to file suits before U.S. courts against any alien who “traffics” U.S. property that was nationalized in Cuba in the 1960s, in a legitimate process, as recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States, carried out by the Cuban government in full compliance with national law and International Law.

Among the most significant aberrations, this title extends this authorization to owners who were not citizens of the United States at the time of the nationalizations, and whose alleged possessions no one has certified.

Under the provisions of the Helms-Burton Act itself, all U.S. Presidents since 1996, including Trump in 2017 and 2018, have made consecutive use of executive power to suspend the application of Title III every six months, recognizing that it consists of the grossest and most unacceptable aspect of this law, contrary to International Law and the sovereignty of other States. Also understanding that its application would pose insurmountable obstacles for any prospect of settling claims and compensation for legitimate U.S. owners.

For its part, the People’s Provincial Court of Havana, on November 2, 1999, upheld the lawsuit filed against the United States Government for Human Damages, and sentenced it to pay reparations and compensate the Cuban people to the amount of $181.100 billion dollars and, on May 5, 2000, also for Economic Damages caused to Cuba, and sentenced it to pay $121 billion dollars.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reiterated Cuba’s willingness to find a solution to the mutual claims and compensations.

This decision that the United States government threatens to adopt would imply that, contrary to what is established in International Law and the practice of international relations, foreign individuals and entities with legitimate businesses in Cuba may face the threat of unfounded and illegitimate claims before courts of the United States. The politically motivated and venal behavior of certain courts in Florida, frequently used as a weapon against Cuba, is well known.

For our people, it means once again resolutely, consciously and forcefully confronting the insistence of U.S. imperialism to subjugate the destiny of the Cuban nation to its dominion and tutelage.

If Title III is applied as established by this law and as the announcement of the Department of State threatens, any Cuban and every community in the country will see claims brought before United States courts for ownership of the housing they occupy, their workplace, the schools their children attend, the polyclinics where they receive medical attention, the land on which their neighborhoods are built; and they will be able to observe the aim of usurping the country’s wealth, infrastructure, arable land, industries, mining resources, energy potential, and the foundations on which science and technology are developed and services provided to the population.

We should all recall the aberrant contents of the Plan Bush that describes and sets out in detail how Cuban families and the country would be deprived of practically everything.

For more than twenty years, the Helms-Burton Act has guided the interventionist efforts of anti-Cuban sectors in the United States to attack the Cuban nation and undermine its sovereignty. By virtue of its application, hundreds of millions of dollars have been approved to subvert the domestic order in Cuba, and innumerable measures have been put in place to try to provoke regime change. Its economic impact has implied a high cost for the country’s development efforts and for the welfare of the population, with a humanitarian impact that is no greater thanks to the social justice system that prevails in Cuba.

The intention to fully apply Title III is promoted against the criteria of major U.S. government agencies, and as a consequence of the power and influence on the government of people whose political careers have been marked by impotent resentment against Cuba, and based on the use of lies and blackmail.

The majority of the United States public consistently opposes the economic blockade, as recognized by the most respected surveys.

History records with sufficient clarity that the policy of economic blockade and the bilateral problems between Cuba and the United States do not have their origin in the just nationalizations that, according to the law and with legitimate rights, were carried out by the revolutionary government. The military, economic and terrorist attacks of the United States government against Cuba began before the fundamental nationalization acts of U.S. properties took place.

It is well-known that all nationalizations of foreign property, including that of the U.S., were provided by law with a commitment to compensation, which the U.S. government refused even to discuss, while it was adopted by the governments of claimants of other countries, all of which enjoyed due compensation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates the postulates of the Reaffirmation of Cuban Dignity and Sovereignty Act (Law No. 80), and emphasizes that the Helms-Burton Act is unlawful, unenforceable, void and without legal effect. Consequently, it will consider null all claims based on it by individuals or legal entities, whatever their citizenship or nationality.

The government of Cuba reserves the right to duly respond to this new aggression.

Havana, January 17, 2019

  • Published in Cuba

President of Cuba Rejects Interference from the United States

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel condemned the United States interventionist policy, following the decision to suspend for only 45 days the application of Title III of the Helms-Burton Law.

We strongly reject this new interventionist, threatening, arrogant provocation, in violation of international law. The US government demonstrates its contempt for the rest of the world, the president wrote on his Twitter account @DiazCanelB.

Also, Díaz-Canel rejected all types of political blackmailing and actions to intensify the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.

We will not allow political blackmail; we have enough and legitimate reasons and truths to face so much hostility and contempt. With our convictions, he stressed in another message.

The day before, the US State Department announced the suspension for 45 days of the aforementioned title of the law that came into force in 1996.

This section establishes the authorization to American nationals to present before US courts lawsuits against any foreigner who 'traffic' with American properties that were nationalized in Cuba in the 1960s.

After hearing the news, the Cuban Foreign Ministry issued a statement in which it states that 'the government of President Donald Trump threatens to take a new step that would reinforce, dangerously, the blockade against Cuba, would flagrantly violate International Law and attack directly the sovereignty and interests of third countries.

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About 189 Offices Operate in Cuba to Inform Voters

Havana, Jan 16 (Prensa Latina) As part of the preparatory process being currently carried out in Cuba in face of the constitutional referendum, the citizens can receive information at any of the 189 procedure offices of the Identification, Immigration and Foreign Affairs Direction.

In these entities, belonging to the Ministry of the Interior, citizens will know details related to their location in the electoral registration, act prior to the February 24 referendum on Cuba's new Constitution.

Colonel Mario Mendez, Chief of Identification, Immigration and Foreign Affairs Direction, explained that drawing up the list of voters is a great challenge for the institution.

Cuba has an electoral register with its own characteristics and the State accepts responsibility and guarantees that all citizens over 16 years of age can have the right to vote, he noted.

Our mission is that no Cuban eligible to vote is outside the list, the colonel said.

The electoral registration has the required quality because it works with seriousness, discipline, transparency and total adherence to the law, the official stressed.

Its strength lies in the technology used to protect it from vulnerabilities and the protection of data is guaranteed, he noted.

He stressed that the electoral registration has a mobilizing capacity, in fact, the list of voters will be for public viewing between January 16-17.

More than eight million Cubans are called to ratify on February 24 the new Constitution of the Republic approved on December 22 by the People's Power National Assembly.

The Constitution ratifies Cuba's socialist nature and the leading role of the Communist Party in its society.

It also reflects changes in the structure of the State, extends guarantees and human rights, promotes foreign investment, and recognizes several forms of property, including private property.

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Film Screening in Cuba Pays Tribute to The Beatles

Havana, Jan 16 (Prensa Latina) The Cinematheque of Cuba begins on Wednesday a varied program in homage to The Beatles and linked to the tribute that the world offers the legendary English band every year.

With the name The Beatles Week: all its images and sounds, the tribute will take place at 23 y 12 movie theaters, headquarters of the entity, and the Chaplin cinema's Charlot room, and will run until January 20.

According to Antonio Mazon, programmer of the institution, the films will be screened during the week in new and remastered movies

related to the life and career of the successful band formed in Liverpool.

Among the clips chosen are 'Help!' with great audio and image quality and subtitling of songs, 'the Magical Mystery Tour' in a new and subtitled copy, and the documentary 'Let It Be'.

Since 1991, the Cinematheque of Cuba has been offering to audience films and documentaries dedicated to rock music and the Beatles has been an essential part of this initiative due to the validity and transcendence of its musical memory.

This special initiative is part of Global Beatles Day, a date chosen with all intention to recall the performance of the band at La Caverna club, which welcomed them more than 200 times in 1961 and 1963.

  • Published in Culture

Cuban President Begins Gov't Visit to Central Province

Havana, Jan 16 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel began on Wednesday a government visit to the central province of Sancti Spiritus, where he was accompanied by First Vice President Salvador Valdes, and several ministers.

The president announced on his twitter account the beginning of his visit, which is part of his policy of systematically traveling throughout the country with members of the Council of Ministers to check the progress of the economy, social works, and other priorities.

'Today begins the visit of the Council of Ministers to Sancti Spiritus, a beautiful province in the center of Cuba. See you,' he tweeted.

Since he took office in April 2018, Diaz-Canel has insisted on the importance of governing with the people, a vision that - he assures - constitutes a legacy of the historical leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, and of the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Raul Castro.

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Diaz-Canel announces national workshop on computerization of society

Miguel Diaz-Canel, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, announced on Twitter that the Second National Informatization and Cybersecurity Workshop will be held later this week.

On the 17th and 18th, the Second Workshop on Informatization and Cybersecurity will be held, in which the progress of the Informatization Program, Electronic Government, the use of Social Networks, the work of the Cuban Union of Informaticians (UIC) and other related topics will be discussed, the Cuban president tweeted.

The organizers of the event informed the press that the workshop will take place at the University of Informatics Sciences, in this capital, and will be attended by officials of the Ministry of Communications, the business system and local governments, as well as research centers and universities.

The program that has transcended so far includes among the activities an exchange on good practices in institutional management of social networks, the current state of cybersecurity in the country and the main results of the implementation of government policy for the computerization of society.

The meeting will also address the march of e-government with an evaluation of the impact of its first stage (Presence) and the projections to reach the second (Interaction) of the four conceived in this initiative.

During the closing day, a diagnosis of the websites of the territorial governments will be presented, as well as the main applications and capacities of the country's IT solutions development entities.

The Cuban computerization process goes beyond strengthening access to the Internet; it also includes a program to expand electronic payment channels, and a gradual migration to digital television, among other aspects. (ACN)

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Computerization in Cuba: driving force for prosperity

Likewise, tourism is known in Cuba as the smokeless driving force because of its important role in pulling the wagons of the national economy, the emerging computerization that makes its way in the insular reality is a driving force too, unavoidable for both Cuba and the entire world today.

From that conviction, increasingly collective, the nation projects itself. It is not for pleasure that the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel himself, commented in the latest session of the National Assembly of People’s Power (Cuban Parliament) that “this is a reality that progresses and provides prosperity.”

It won’t be an issue of just snapping the fingers so Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) insert themselves into every beating of the daily life. Our status of underdeveloped and blocked country makes it harder for us.

But anyway, it is based and will continue to be based on an express political will, which knows that computerization is synonymous with effectiveness, efficiency, competiveness and, firstly, rise in the quality of life of citizens.

On the basis of achieving those aims, Cuba’s Communications Minister Jorge Luis Perdomo has explained that this complex, costly but indispensable process is based on four pillars: to have an infrastructure for telecommunications; with digital services and contents for the country; cybersecurity and to have a regulatory framework that allows to deploy the aforementioned.

Even when the Ministry of Communications is in charge of the management and control of that process, all gears of the socioeconomic reality of the country are necessarily involved. At the same time that, as Perdomo himself recalled “all bodies of the Central Administration of the State have the obligation to implement it and make it functional and sustainable.”

For this year and not for the coming one

Everything said so far here explains why the Cuban president, when summarizing the most relevant events in 2018, underlined that “it has been a year for boosting e-government”, which he described as a priority in the computerization of the country.

Besides enabling and simplifying procedures and managements –leaving bureaucracy without oxygen–, the most important aspect of this kind of government is the possibility that it provides for the exchange and greater closeness between leaders and the people.

All Cuban ministries have already created their space on the web, as well as other entities, even the president himself keeps an active participation on Twitter; it would be necessary to climb a new step now: to encourage that interaction with the citizens and to know how to take advantage of it.

Also for this 2019, emphasis has been made on e-commerce, still in its infancy, but equally necessary for the quickness in financial transactions, and, among other points in its favor, to guarantee the transparency of this job. “Using payment gateways contributes to progress”, claimed the minister of communications.

Part of the road has been walked: the qualification of the human capital owned by the country, as well as its training in the field of information and communications technologies.

This year, thus has been specified, the job of the leaders at all levels should increasingly embrace social communication, science, research and innovation, as well as computerization in its entirety, as key tools for their management.

Computerization in Cuba is already progressing, as the president has ratified. No single day should be missed to continue boosting it, because it would be a day lost with a view to the prosperity of the nation.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

  • Published in Now

Cuba Reiterates Interest in Boosting links with European Union

Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, ratified today the interest in boosting cooperation and dialogue with the European Union (EU).

In his Twitter social network account, the diplomat insisted that relations between the greater of the Antilles and the 28-country bloc have developed favorably, on the bases of mutual respect.

'We build spaces of dialogue and cooperation. We privileged the common points above those that difference us to develop stable and long-term links', he stressed.

Rodriguez recalled that last year, Cuba and the EU held the first sessions of the Joint Council and the meetings to approach issues in the area of human rights and unilateral coercive measures.

At the end of 2016, the island and the European bloc signed an agreement of political dialogue and cooperation, that represented the official end to the common position on Cuba, an initiative applied since 1996 by the EU which conditioned the approach to the greater of the Antilles to human rights issues, rejected by the Caribbean country, considering it a position of subordination to the U.S. aggressiveness and its economic blockade.

  • Published in Cuba
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