FOR some weeks now, the campaign against the Helms-Burton law has gained strength in social networks as the Cuban people reject US attempts to destroy their revolution. For over 60 years, the US government has tried to seize Cuba through different means but has been unsuccessful thanks to the resistance of the Cuban people and their determination to remain free.
The May 2 enforcement of the Helms-Burton Act by the United States is a direct attack on the sovereignty of Cuba and its political and economic systems. It is also a potential threat to the sovereignty of all nation-states.
The Act, which was enacted in 1996, contains four titles: Title I aims to internationally strengthen application of the blockade and economic sanctions against Cuba, Title II establishes a political “transition” plan in Cuba and of US intervention in the future, Title III proposes that persons claiming holdings that were nationalised in Cuba can file suits in US courts against persons that may be “trafficking” in that property, and Title IV prohibits executives and their families and the owners of entities “trafficking” in these nationalised holdings from entering America.
Title III pursues the internationalisation of the US blockade by creating uncertainty and discouraging foreign companies from doing business with Cuba. In short, it is an American law that claims to have an effect outside US borders – which is legally not allowed.
Perhaps recognising that it is a legal aberration, and faced with opposition from European partners, previous US administrations suspended the application of Title III for 23 years. Under the Trump Administration, however, it is being used to justify political measures for domination purposes.
Assisted by international law and the Constitution of 1940, between 1959 and 1960, Cuba nationalised properties in a legitimate act responding to popular demand and the need to restructure property relations on the island, thus fulfilling part of the revolution’s programme.
Each act of nationalisation included an act of compensation, as is the international practice. However, the United States refused to accept the compensation. Britain, Canada, France, Spain and Switzerland were compensated and now have businesses in Cuba.
Cuba is not a threat to the world. For 60 years we have suffered all kinds of aggressions and the longest blockade in history. We thank Malaysia for its position against unilateral measures and for having accompanied us all these years.
The world cannot remain idle as one nation attacks other peoples simply because they do not profess to the same values and ideologies. It is not a time of aggression, it is a time for consultation, cooperation and collaboration to leave as a legacy a better future for our children.
Cuba is convinced that a better world is possible, based on the respect for differences, integrity and sovereignty among nations. Let’s do it together!
IBETE FERNÁNDEZ HERNÁNDEZ
Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Malaysia