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ST GEORGE’S – The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping has denounced moves by the United States to strengthen the decades old trade and economic embargo against Cuba.
In a statement issued following the two-day CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) meeting in Grenada, CARICOM said it “concerned by the new measures under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act announced by the Government of the United States of America which would strengthen the US economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba”.
“The Community denounces the application of laws and measures of an extra-territorial nature that are contrary to international law.”
The Helms–Burton Act seeks to impose international sanctions against the Cuban government, to plan for support of a transition government leading to a democratically elected government in Cuba, and for other purposes.
The Trump administration announced last month that it would end the suspension of the law that allows American citizens, including naturalised Cubans, to sue companies and subsidiaries in Cuba that benefited from private properties that were confiscated by the Cuban government.
It said that the legislation, which was previously suspended by the Obama administration and by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, will be fully implemented and enforced.
The move by Washington is seen as a retaliation for Havana’s continued support for President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, where the United States is leading an effort to oust him from power.
Cuba has said the nationalisations of the companies were conducted in full compliance with Cuban and international law and the Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto (ACRT), Canada, has denounced Washington’s move saying the first impact will be suffered by investors who currently have commercial relations with Cuba and those who intend to do so in the future.
ACRT president Julio Fonseca said the objective of the move is to intimidate, discourage and close doors to the island.
In its statement, CARICOM said it “notes with the greatest concern that the application of these new measures will also have a greater adverse impact on the socio-economic development of Cuba and the well-being of the Cuban People”.
“The Community reiterates its endorsement of the principles of international law as well as its strongly-held view that economic development and stability in the region contribute to international peace and security,” the statement added.
CARICOM Secretary General told the COFCOR meeting that next month, the 15-member grouping will host the Sixth Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba.
“Cuba has been a long-standing, supportive partner particularly in building the region’s human capital in fields such as public health and sport. Our Community reiterates its call for the lifting of the unwarranted economic embargo and sanctions on Cuba which were strengthened recently,” he added. (CMC)