Americans who have had their private and hard-earned property stolen in Cuba will finally be allowed to sue, that announcement was made by National Security Advisor John Bolton during the 58th anniversary of the failed US-backed efforts to invade Cuba through the Bay of Pigs.
Bolton announced a new initiative that’s giving an opportunity to Americans to sue saying that foreign companies that do business in Cuba on the property there seized from Americans and described it as “undoing the damage” of the Obama administration, which sought to normalize diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba.
The change stems from the Helms-Burton Act, passed by Congress in 1996. A provision of that law had repeatedly been suspended by the previous three US presidents.
Permitting this provision, called Title III, means that Americans whose property was seized following the Cuban Revolution can now sue companies that are accused of having benefited – or having “trafficked” – in that property.
Those properties are believed to include beachfront homes, ports operated by cruise ship companies and many other investments associated with the tourism sector as well as several other industries.
Mr. Bolton also said on Wednesday that anyone who traffics in property stolen from Americans will not be issued a visa to the United States.
People who fled Cuba, and later became American citizens, will as well be permitted to file lawsuits under the new policy.
In addition to the change to the Helms-Burton Act, Mr. Bolton announced several other changes to US-Cuba policy. New restrictions to non-family travel to Cuba – called “veiled tourism” – will be issued, as well as new limits on remittances to Cuba.
On such announcement Johana Tablada, Cuba’s deputy director of US affairs gave a reaction by writing on Twitter: “Before they try to euphorically ride a wave of wickedness and lies, they should take a dose of reality. The world has told John Bolton and the US government to eliminate the criminal blockade against Cuba and the Helms-Burton Act.”
Also, the European Union has warned that any litigation against foreign companies will likely be met with counter-lawsuits, and vowed to bring the US to the World Trade Organisation to solve the dispute. The EU’s ambassador to Cuba, Alberto Navarro told the Associated Press: “The extraterritorial application of the US embargo is illegal and violates international law.”