The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 16, 2002

Fact Sheet
U.S.-Cuba Policy and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act

Background on Title III

  • Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act creates a private right of action allowing U.S. claimants to expropriated property in Cuba to sue an individual or entity (including foreign individuals and companies) that "traffics" in that property. "Trafficking" is defined broadly in the Act to include most kinds of commercial involvement.
  • The title includes waiver authority, if the President determines that a suspension of this provision is in the national interest of the United States and will expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba.
  • Using this authority, the President has suspended application of Title III for an additional six months, effective August 1, 2002. He has reported his determination to the appropriate congressional committees.

    Policy Commitments

  • The President remains firmly and fully committed to encouraging a rapid, peaceful transition to a democratic government characterized by strong support for human rights and an open market economy. The President's Initiative for a New Cuba provides a blueprint for improved U.S.-Cuba relations.
  • The President likewise remains committed to the use of the trade embargo and travel restrictions as tools to encourage a rapid transition. As he reiterated on May 20, 2002, the Administration strongly opposes any effort to loosen sanctions against the Cuban regime until it undertakes meaningful political, economic, and labor reforms and respects human rights.
  • The United States continues to work with its friends and allies around the world to promote freedom and democracy for all of Cuba's people.
  • The Cuban regime is an anachronism in a region where democracy and open markets prevail. The current political and economic crisis in Cuba reflects four decades of Castro's failed policies. The recent government-imposed petition drive, which codified the immutable status of Cuban communism, is a reflection of institutional and political weakness.
  • The Cuban government rightfully remains on the State Department's Terrorist List due to its continued support for terrorism, including the fact that it continues to harbor fugitives from justice wanted in the United States for terrorism-related offenses.
  • Notwithstanding the efforts of the Castro Government's current offensive to depict its policies of Marxist-Leninist authoritarianism, police state tactics, and total economic control as acceptable outcomes of the Cuban Revolution and somehow benign, the Cuban regime, because of these policies, remains hostile to United States national security interests.

    Initiative for a New Cuba

  • The President is determined to encourage and deepen our outreach to the Cuban people, especially those brave and independent activists for democracy and human rights.
  • On May 20, the President announced his Initiative for a New Cuba in Washington, D.C. and Miami, Florida. The Initiative calls for free, fair, and transparent elections in Cuba, genuine political and economic reform, and increased contact with Cuba's independent civil society.
  • The U.S. Government has created immediate scholarship opportunities for Cuban youth who are trying to strengthen civil society and/or are disadvantaged family members of political prisoners and dissidents.
  • Despite obstacles and increasing hostility created by the Cuban regime, the U.S. Interests Section in Havana has expanded its outreach to the Cuban people in innovative ways.
  • The United States has formally requested the resumption of direct mail service between the United States and Cuba. This will greatly increase people-to-people exchange and promote humanitarian contact. We are awaiting a response from the Cuban Government.
  • The Department of State is working with the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to broaden true people-to-people contacts, simplify and shorten the licensing process, and ensure that only legitimate travelers are issued licenses to visit Cuba.

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