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