Argument: Enforcing US-Cuba sanctions entails punishing businesses and allies

Issue Report: Ending US sanctions on Cuba

Section of 1996 Helms Burton Act that applies

(1) RESTRICTIONS BY OTHER COUNTRIES- The Congress hereby reaffirms section 1704(a) of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, which states that the President should encourage foreign countries to restrict trade and credit relations with Cuba in a manner consistent with the purposes of that Act.
(2) SANCTIONS ON OTHER COUNTRIES- The Congress further urges the President to take immediate steps to apply the sanctions described in section 1704(b)(1) of that Act against countries assisting Cuba.”


Despite the success of our farm exports, U.S. policy toward Cuba has if anything been sliding backwards. In 1996, Congress mistakenly raised the embargo to a new level with passage of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act. Known as the Helms-Burton act, it threatens to punish foreign-based companies that allegedly engage in the ‘wrongful trafficking in property confiscated by the Castro regime.’ The law is legally flawed because it allows U.S. courts to rule on actions of parties who were not U.S. citizens and were not in the United States when the alleged offense took place. As a foreign-policy tool, the law perversely punishes, not the Castro regime itself, but some of our closest commercial allies such as Canada and the European Union.”