Confiscated property issue could further deteriorate U.S.-Cuba relations

White House may allow Americans to file lawsuits over property in Cuba

By Hatzel Vela - Cuba Correspondent

WASHINGTON - The White House may be looking at finally allowing Americans to sue foreign companies over confiscated property in Cuba. 

For the first time since its inception, the Trump administration has decided to suspend Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act for 45 days, instead of the customary 180 days. 

Title III allows Americans to sue foreign companies with U.S. businesses that have investments in confiscated properties in Cuba. 

U.S. citizens have filed nearly 6,000 claims, which are reportedly worth an estimated $9 billion. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is a staunch critic of the Cuban government and its revolution, said in a tweet the "waiver of Title III of Helms-Burton for only 45 days instead of the customary 180 days and the accompanying warning, is a strong indication of what comes next. If you are trafficking in stolen property in Cuba, now would be a good time to get out."

Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said the island's government categorically rejected the move to only suspend the enforcement of Title III for 45 days. 

CLICK HERE to read the entire reaction from the Cuban government.

In a tweet, Rodriguez called it "political blackmail and irresponsible hostility to strengthen blockade against Cuba."

If Title III goes into effect, some argue it could discourage investors from doing business in Cuba, a country in the midst of an economic slow down. 

It could also affect companies that are already doing business with Cuba, like American cruise ships and commercial airlines, which bring thousands of visitors to the island. 

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