Obama suspends sanction that would allow US citizens to sue Cuban companies
WASHINGTON, January 17 - RAPSI. President Barack Obama has suspended the operation of part of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Helms-Burton) Act for six months.
Title III of the law stipulates that businesses operating on Cuban properties that were confiscated from US citizens during Cuba’s post-revolutionary nationalization process can be held personally liable to these US citizens for damages sustained by the loss of property.
"I hereby determine and report to the Congress that suspension, for 6 months beyond February 1, 2013, of the right to bring an action under title III of the Act is necessary to the national interests of the United States and will expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba," Obama wrote to US lawmakers.
According to an Amnesty International (AI) backgrounder, Cuba introduced its first trade sanctions against Cuba in 1960 by terminating all sugar cane imports from the island nation in response to its nationalization of foreign property.
The following year, Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act, which strengthened trade sanctions imposed against Communist countries around the world, and included a provision authorizing the US president to impose a total embargo against Cuba.
The following year, then-president John F. Kennedy suspended all trade with Cuba.
In 1996, US Congress adopted the Helms-Burton Act.
According to the AI backgrounder, "President Bill Clinton first suspended for six months the possibility of launching legal actions against foreign companies. Since then, US presidents, including Barack Obama, have issued a waiver postponing the enforcement of Title III for six months at a time."