Statement on the Partial Enactment of Title III of Helms-Burton by the Trump Administration
The Executive Director of the Cuba Study Group, Ricardo Herrero, issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Department of State that it will partially enact Title III of the Helms-Burton Act:
“The partial enactment of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act constitutes a tacit recognition by the Trump administration that this counterproductive law remains deeply unpopular among U.S. business interests, federal agencies, and international allies alike.
“By exempting U.S. business interests on the island, and most foreign ones, from lawsuits by American citizens with claims on properties expropriated during the Cuban Revolution, the State Department seems to have taken heed to warnings that a full implementation of this universally-condemned law would only inflict more harm than good on private sector parties.
“Nonetheless, even a partial enactment remains a reckless exercise. Any degree of Title III enforcement would likely reduce the chance that claimants secure restitution through a negotiated settlement process. Also, should the State Department opt to enforce continuous 30-day extensions of the partial waiver, it may freeze new investment in Cuba and further dampen hopes for reforms. This would impose undue hardship on the Cuban people, galvanize intransigent factions within the Cuban government, and sideline reformers who seek to open the island’s economy and improve relations between our two countries.
“If 60 years of a failed embargo policy have taught us anything, it is that change in Cuba will not come as a result of unilateral economic aggression directed from Washington D.C. and Miami. It is regrettable that the president’s advisors insist on ignoring this lesson. We call on President Trump to follow the instincts he exhibited early in his 2016 campaign and actively pursue a policy of constructive engagement with Cuba that puts the interests of the United States and the Cuban people first.”