On 1 July 2019, Cubans in the UK wrote to MP Karen Lee, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cuba, to demand that the British government oppose the implementation of Title III of the United State’s legislation, the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which enables US courts to enact legal claims against third parties dealing with Cuban entities. This jeopardises all British interests in Cuba, and affects Cubans in Britain. Below we publish Lee’s response.
Karen Lee MP
House Of Common
London, SW1A OAA
Dear Mr Acosta,
Thank you for your letter of 1st July regarding the US Blockade on Cuba.
The UK has long opposed the US embargo on Cuba and Karen shares your concerns about the US Administrations intensification of the blockade by ending the suspension on the Title Ill of the Helms-Burton Act on May 2nd 2019.
I am also aware that every president, Democrat and Republican, has waived this part of the Act on a six-monthly basis since it was passed in 1996. I am extremely concerned that the implementation of Title Ill represents an act of economic warfare in an attempt to worsen relations between the two countries.
Prior to the implementation of Title Ill, I raised my concerns with the International Trade Department and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I specifically referenced the negative effect the legislation will have on thousands of European Companies who trade with Cuba and the restrictions it places on Cuba's export market.
I was reassured by the responding minister, Alan Duncan MP, who asserted that the government views the embargo's extraterritorial effects as illegal and that UK and EU businesses should not abide by it. The UK government has raised its concerns via the UK's Washington Embassy and the US's London Embassy, as well as in coordination with the European Union. The UK Government has committed to continuing to call on the US to reapply the waiver of Title Ill in accordance with the 1998 EU-US Memorandum of Understanding.
As Chair of the APPG on Cuba, I will continue to vigilantly monitor developments and actions taken by the UK and US governments. I work closely with the Cuban Embassy in London and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and rest assured that I will continue to oppose the implementation of Title Ill and lobby the government to ensure the UK maintains its obligations under international law.
Please let me know if you would like to discuss any of these issues further.
Karen Lee MP
Constituency Office, Grafton House, 32 Newland, Lincoln LN1
Tel: 01522 420067 karen.lee.mp@parliamentuk