New Policy against Cuba would strain US links with allies

Two former US officials warned that the new policy of Donald Trump¨s administration against Cuba threatens to further tighten relations between the United States and its closest allies.

Lee Wolosky, former staff member of the National Security Council; and Sam Kleiner, who worked in the Office of the US Trade Representative, wrote an article in the digital portal Just Security about the decision of the Republican government to allow the application as of May 2 of Title III of the Helms- Burton Act.

This section allows US nationals to sue individuals and companies, even from third countries, who invest in Cuban territory on nationalized properties after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

According to Wolosky and Kleiner, although National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the decision to launch that title was directed against Cuba, it is likely to lead a wave of lawsuits against European and Canadian companies that 'traffic' in confiscated property.

This action, they said, is only the most recent example of the adoption by the Trump administration of extraterritorial sanctions that could affect our allies together with our enemies.

Already the Trump government has targeted European companies operating in Iran and has pressured the nations of the so-called old continent to exclude the Chinese company Huawei from their 5G networks, they added.

According to the authors, the upcoming confrontation over the new policy on Cuba will intensify debate and discord about whether the United States is being too aggressive in its approach to foreign companies for activities that occur outside North America's territory.

They affirmed that the determination on Title III surprised many, because it reverses more than 20 years in which the US administrations suspended the implementation of that section to avoid the flow of demands that it could bring.

The regulation is structured so that any company that does business in Cuba, or even that benefits from the commercial activity of other companies in that country, can be sued, explained Wolosky and Kleiner, who belong to the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP., based in New York.

They detailed that the broad concept of 'traffic in confiscated property' included in the law means that both a company and the Canadian Sherritt International, with mining investments in the island, can face claims as the lenders and financial institutions of that firm.

They also recalled that as a result of the Helms-Burton Act, Canada and the European Union established 'recovery provisions' that create a legal claim against any person in the United States who initiates an action against a foreign company.

(Cubavsbloqueo/Prensa Latina)

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