Tuesday, 2 April 2019, is the statutory deadline for the Trump Administration to inform the United States Congress of its intention(s) for what-happens-next relating to the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (Libertad Act) of 1996.
If the Trump Administration decides to extend further the partial (although there is debate as to whether it was partial) implementation of Title III of the Libertad Act, reckless by opponents to believe that the Trump Administration is timid, is weak; that opponents within the United States Congress and advocacy groups are victorious.
There is support within The White House and in the United States Congress for a Title III lawsuit to be filed, to be adjudicated, and for a plaintiff to receive monetary damages with Spain-based companies among the expected first targets. There is a visceral need for an example to be established and the Trump Administration is patient and while what was announced on 4 March 2019 has yet to result in a legal filing, that does not mean that nothing will be filed.
Title III of the Libertad Act authorizes lawsuits in United States District Courts against companies and individuals who are using a certified claim where the owner of the certified claim has not received compensation from the Republic of Cuba or from a third-party who is using the asset.
Title IV of the Libertad Act restricts entry into the United States by individuals who have connectivity to unresolved certified claims. One company is currently subject to this provision.
The Trump Administration’s decision on 4 March 2019 is not (yet) about creating an efficient timeline to negotiate a settlement with the Republic of Cuba for the 5,913 certified claims.
The Trump Administration mantra is much about resolving what its predecessors failed to do; and the Trump Administration heralds its negotiating prowess. To date, the mantra and the prowess are missing from the discussion- could The Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, not have been fully-briefed as to his options? Negotiation is his preferred default position and thus far the Trump Administration has been devoid of negotiations (and negotiators) relating to the Republic of Cuba.
Press Releases: Secretary Enacts 30-Day Suspension of Title III (LIBERTAD Act) With an Exception
Office of the Spokesperson
March 4, 2019
Today, Secretary Pompeo reported to the appropriate Congressional committees his determination that an additional suspension for 30 days through April 17, 2019, of the right to bring an action under Title III of the 1996 Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act is necessary to the national interests of the United States and will expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba, with the below exception. Beginning March 19, suspension shall not apply to:
The right to bring an action against a Cuban entity or sub-entity identified by name on the State Department’s List of Restricted Entities and Sub-entities Associated with Cuba (known as the Cuba Restricted List), as may be updated from time to time.
We will continue to study the impact of this suspension on the human rights situation in Cuba. The Cuba Restricted List identifies entities and sub-entities under the control of Cuban military, intelligence, or security services. These security services are directly responsible for the repression of the Cuban people. We encourage any person doing business in Cuba to reconsider whether they are trafficking in confiscated property and abetting the Cuban dictatorship.