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Editorial: The Helms-Burton Act and the Cuban Regime's Responsibility

The dire consequences of Havana's policies will now be borne by all Cubans.


For decades the Cuban government has profited off properties confiscated after the Revolution. Far from compensating their legitimate owners, it has repeatedly rejected any step or negotiations to this end. What is more, they have placed these properties in the hands of military companies and consortiums, and barred Cubans from benefitting from them, as for years they lacked the right to access, for example, certain lots, hotels, marinas and ports.

In a hapless political miscalculation, the Government squandered the opportunity offered at the time by US president Barack Obama to pave the way for rapprochement with Washington and implement solutions that would improve the lives of Cubans and allow them to progress towards prosperity.

Even today, that same government remains a key ally of regimes regionally censured for their clear signs of contempt for democracy, such as Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. In this way it ties the fate of Cubans to the schemes of Caracas and Managua, political fiascos that have spawned corruption, misery and a lack of freedom in their societies.

Activating Titles III and IV of the Helms-Burton Act is a prerogative of the United States that the Trump Administration has decided to exercise, in response to those non-compensated confiscations from citizens of his country, contrary to what is established by international law.

The Cuban government has described the Law as an"attack on the sovereignty of Cuba", but says nothing of its own historical lack of any action to solve or mitigate its impact on the citizens of the island. Spouting its habitual patriotic rhetoric, the Cuban government evades its responsibility. By pretending to share the same destiny as that of Cuba's citizens, it strives to conceal its heavy responsibility, as for decades it has wielded power in an all-embracing manner on the island, making laws and designing the country's policies without any opposition or critical press.

That government, currently presided over by Miguel Díaz-Canel, bore an obligation to defuse the dispute with the US, to allow Cubans to participate in the nation's destiny, and to respect human rights; in short, to have prevented the country from sinking Cuba into its current political, social and economic crisis.

The Cuban response -in the tweets of Díaz-Canel himself, and of Bruno Rodriguez after the activation of Titles III and IV of the Helms-Burton Act- evidences a political class mired in the same dead-end rut that has brought us here, and whose main strategy, to hide their own responsibilities and failures, is to incite confrontation with the U.S. Now, as for decades, the consequences will be borne by all Cubans.

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