Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 12:38:20 -0500
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Cuba sanctions still at issue
NAFTA & Inter-American Trade Monitor, produced by the
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Vol. 3, no. 18, Friday,
20 September 1996
Despite a surprise visit from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, leaders of the 12 Latin American and Caribbean nations of the Rio Group meeting in Bolivia in early September condemned the U.S. Helms-Burton law, which reinforced the U.S. trade sanctions against Cuba. "It is symptomatic that the United States has sent an ambassador as important as Mrs. Madeleine Albright, without a clear agenda, to a forum with which it has nothing to do," said an official of a Latin American government.
An August 27 decision of the Inter-American Juridical Committee, a legal committee of the Organization of American States, determined that the U.S. Helms-Burton Act violates international standards on extra- territorial jurisdiction and on protection of property rights. The committee said that successful enforcement of a Helms-Burton claim "could itself constitute a measure tantamount to expropriation and result in responsibility of the claimant State." The committee said the United States "does not have the right to espouse claims by persons who were not its nationals at the time of injury," or to "attribute liability to nationals of third States" for claims against the Cuban government.
In July European Union (EU) foreign ministers told the European Commission (EC) to find ways to retaliate against the United States for its implementation of the Helms-Burton anti-Cuba trade provisions. Retaliation could take the form of forbidding EU nationals and companies from complying with U.S. court rulings, allowing companies or individuals to counter-sue, or penalizing U.S. companies or citizens that sue under Helms-Burton. In September, the EC retaliation was broadened to include the D'Amato bill, which seeks to prevent foreign companies from investing in oil and allied industries of Iran and Libya.
Juan Carlos Rocha, "'Summit for 'Democracy Without Poverty' Opens," INTERPRESS SERVICE, September 2, 1996; Juan Carlos Rocha, "U.S. Manoeuvres at the Cochabamba Summit," INTERPRESS SERVICE, September 2, 1996; "OAS Legal Panel Says Helms-Burton Violates International Norms," INSIDE U.S. TRADE, September 6, 1996; David Fox, "EU Widens Retaliation to U.S. Trade Measures," REUTER, September 15, 1996.