Spain Expresses Concern Over Tightening Of US Embargo On Cuba

Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, meets with House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Elliot Engel

HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) — Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell expressed to the United States the concern of his government and the European Union (EU) at the intensification of US economic sanctions against Cuba.

During a meeting in Washington, Borrell conveyed to the US National Security Adviser, John Bolton, the position of the Spanish government, ‘which perceives with concern a possible total activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act’, according to a report from Prensa Latina news agency.

In a statement, Borrell conveyed his unease “by the negative consequences that this measure would have for Spanish interests and those of European partners in Cuba, as well as in bilateral relations between allied countries.”

He noted that this section was suspended uninterruptedly since the entry into force of the Helms-Burton (1996), for renewable periods of six months, “as part of the understanding reached between the European Union and the United States in 1998.”

However, the official note emphasised, last January 17, Donald Trump’s administration decided to postpone Title III only for 45 days, for March 4 to renew the suspension for a period of 30 more days, until April 17.

Borrell warned, however, about a partial lifting of the measure, since, for the first time, “a series of Cuban entities included in the so-called Cuba restricted list have been exempted from this suspension.”

Faced with this situation, Borrell said that “like all EU member states, Spain reiterates its firm rejection, as a reason in principle, of the extraterritorial application of national sanctioning laws as contrary to international law.”

Also, he expressed the “unequivocal and firm commitment” of the Spanish government in matters of defence and promotion of human rights.

Along these lines, he highlighted the dialogue that the community bloc maintains with the Caribbean nation on this matter, within the framework of the current political dialogue and cooperation agreement, as part of its international commitments’, reads the text.

According to the ministry of foreign affairs, as well as Bolton, Borrell conveyed his concern about the policy of pressure toward Cuba to the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and to the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Spain is among the countries that invest the most in Cuba. During his official visit to Havana November, President Pedro Sánchez confirmed, in a business forum then attended by representatives of both countries, his government’s willingness to continue promoting these investments, which are estimated at €370 million in various sectors, among which the tourism industry stands out.

Spain is also among the top three suppliers of the Cuban market and is its main European partner, its extensive presence in tourism — with some 60 hotel management contracts — means that Spanish brands currently manage more than half of the rooms available in this sector in Cuba. print

Source Caribbean News Now

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