HAVANA, (Rahnuma): Although Cuba has lived for more than half a century under a U.S. blockade, Washington’s move to activate Title III of the Helms-Burton Act stirred up fresh resentment among citizens of the Caribbean country.
The controversial act allows U.S. nationals to file lawsuits over properties nationalized or confiscated by the Cuban government after the revolution.
The law was passed in 1996, but due to its extra-territorial character, for over 23 years, Title III of the act remained suspended — until the Trump administration fully activated it last week.
The total activation of the Helms-Burton Act is seen by the island country as punishment for Cuba’s support to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, who is now faced with challenges by opposition leader Juan Guaido.
“This is more of the same as what we have seen in recent years,” retired soldier Jose Gonzalez told Xinhua, referring to the Title III sanctions.
Cubans have been accustomed to “living entrenched since 1959, because the United States has a historic appetite” for the island, according to Gonzalez.
She said that Washington has always seen Latin America as its backyard, “in which it has applied successive policies of imperial dominance, like Manifest Destiny, the Ripe Fruit Policy, and the Monroe Doctrine.”
The Cuban Revolution, a radical socialist process, hit hard the America’s regional hegemony, which began a policy of confrontation almost immediately after Fidel Castro entered Havana.
Milena Ortega, a Cuban physician who has carried out a medical mission to Venezuela, is skeptical of the allegations made by U.S. officials that Cuba has thousands of soldiers stationed in Venezuela.
“In reality, there are thousands of doctors that maintain a system of health that has saved thousands of lives as part of a cooperation agreement signed between Fidel (Castro) and (Hugo) Chavez in 2000,” Ortega said.
According to Ortega, 20,000 Cuban doctors work in Venezuela because the island country “will maintain its commitment to the health of the Venezuelan people.”
In exchange for these doctors, Cuba receives discounted petroleum, but the delivery of this petroleum has been complicated in recent months due to the situation in Venezuela.
The decrease in fuel shipments, and the uncertainty among foreign investors generated by Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, has made daily life for Cubans a bit more complicated.
A report presented by Cuba last year to the United Nations claimed that damage accumulated from the almost six decades of the blockade had reached over 933 billion dollars.
Cuban lawyer Alina Ramos pointed out that the Helms-Burton Act “is not just unfair; it’s also illegal,” as no nation can legislate and apply laws in a foreign country.
“This is a flagrant violation of international law,” she said, “and it is just looking to halt foreign investment in Cuba.”