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Ending the US Embargo of Cuba: International Law in Dispute

  • Nigel D. White (a1)

Abstract

The announcement by Presidents Obama and Castro in December 2014 of a major step towards normalisation of inter-state relations was part of what is primarily a political process, but normalisation implies a return to peaceful inter-state relations based on respect for fundamental principles of international law. This commentary explores the role that those principles have played in helping shape the confrontation between the United States and Cuba since the revolution of 1959, which has been underpinned by an economic, commercial and financial embargo of Cuba by the United States. This commentary argues that, from being an integral part of the bilateral dispute, international law can, at key moments, shift to form part of a solution. The changing political landscape raises the prospects of the parties turning to international law as a means of restoring normal relations between them resulting in, amongst other changes, the demise of the embargo.

En diciembre de 2014, los presidentes Obama y Castro anunciaron importantes medidas para normalizar las relaciones interestatales. Aun cuando este anuncio sea principalmente parte de un proceso político, implica también el retorno de relaciones interestatales pacíficas, basadas en el respeto de principios fundamentales del derecho internacional. Este comentario explora cómo estos principios han contribuído a definir la confrontación entre Estados Unidos y Cuba desde la revolución de 1959, que se ha basado en un embargo económico, comercial y financiero a Cuba por parte de Estados Unidos. Este comentario argumenta que el rol del derecho internacional puede cambiar en momentos claves, pasando de ser parte integral de una disputa bilateral a ser parte de su solución. El clima político cambiante incrementa las posibilidades de que las partes recurran al derecho internacional como una forma de normalizar sus relaciones, provocando, entre otros cambios, el fin del embargo.

O anúncio feito pelos presidentes Obama e Castro, em dezembro de 2014, de um importante passo para a normalização das relações internacionais foi parte do que é basicamente um processo político, embora normalização implique no retorno a relações pacíficas entre estados baseado no respeito pelos princípios fundamentais do direito internacional. Este comentário explora o papel que esses princípios tem desempenhado ao ajudar a moldar o confronto entre os Estados Unidos e Cuba desde a revolução de 1959, que foi sustentada por um embargo econômico, comercial e financeiro de Cuba pelos Estados Unidos. Este comentário argumenta que, por ser uma parte integrante da disputa bilateral, o direito internacional pode, em momentos cruciais, mudar para formar parte de uma solução. A mudança do cenário político aumenta as perspectivas de as partes se voltarem para o direito internacional como um meio de restaurar as relações normais entre os dois países, resultando, entre outras mudanças, na retirada do embargo.

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*Corresponding author. Email: nigel.white@nottingham.ac.uk.

References

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1 Cubans often refer to it as ‘el bloqueo’ or ‘blockade’ rather than ‘el embargo’: see André Zaldívar Diéguez, Bloqueo: El asedio económico más prolongado de la historia (La Habana: Capitán San Luis, 2003). Under classical international law a blockade is the ‘blocking by men-of-war of the approach to the enemy coast … for the purpose of preventing ingress or egress of vessels or aircraft of all nations’: Grant, John P. and Barker, J. Craig, Parry & Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 3rd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 65. While the US measures against Cuba do not amount to a blockade in a technical or formal sense, their cumulative effect is to put an economic stranglehold on the island, which not only prevents United States–Cuba intercourse but also effectively blocks commerce with other states, their citizens and companies. Cuba uses the term ‘embargo’ in recent reports to the UN: see the UN Secretary General's Report, ‘Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo Imposed by the United States of America against Cuba’, UN Doc A/71/91 (2016), available at http://undocs.org/A/71/91, last access 16 June 2018.

2 Proclamation 3347, ‘Embargo on All Trade with Cuba’, 3 Feb. 1962, in which the President, acting under the Foreign Assistance Act 1961, prohibited ‘the importation into the United States of all goods of Cuban origin and all goods imported from or through Cuba’.

3 Cox, Eric W., Why Enduring Rivalries Do – or Don't – End (Boulder, CO: First Forum Press, 2010); Kupchan, Charles A., How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010).

4 Patrick J. Haney and Walt Vanderbush, The Cuban Embargo: The Domestic Politics of an American Foreign Policy (Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh University Press, 2005); Nigel D. White, The Cuban Embargo under International Law: El Bloqueo (London: Routledge, 2015).

5 For example, UN Doc A/RES/69/5 (2014) adopted by 188 votes to two (United States, Israel) with three abstentions (Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau).

6 UN Doc A/RES/70/5 (2015), adopted by 191 votes to two (United States and Israel).

7 UN Doc A/RES/71/5 (2016).

8 On 1 November 2017, the United States reverted to casting a negative vote in the General Assembly in UN Doc A/RES/72/4, adopted by 191 votes to two (United States and Israel). President Trump's inauguration was on 20 January 2017.

9 Article 36 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice 1945.

10 Under Article 65 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice 1945; for example, used by the General Assembly to request an advisory opinion on the legality of the construction of a wall by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (2004), ICJ Rep, p. 136.

11 Christine Gray, ‘The Use and Abuse of the International Court of Justice in the Enforcement of International Law’, in Kalliopi Koufa (ed.), International Law Enforcement: New Tendencies (Athens: Sakkoulas, 2010), p. 195.

12 Island of Palmas Case (Netherlands v. US), Reports of International Arbitral Awards, 2 (1928), pp. 829–71.

13 Antony Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 199.

14 On modes of acquisition of title to territory see Robert Jennings, The Acquisition of Territory under International Law (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1963).

15 Treaty of Peace between the United States and Spain, 10 Dec. 1898.

16 Louis A. Pérez, ‘The Pursuit of Pacification: Banditry and the United States’ Occupation of Cuba, 1889–1902’, Journal of Latin American Studies, 18 (1986), pp. 313–32.

17 Richard Gott, Cuba: A New History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004), p. 98.

18 Agreement of the Lease to the United States of Lands in Cuba for Coaling and Naval Stations, 23 Feb. 1903.

19 Such an agreement would be seen as void under modern treaty law reflected in Article 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969, as a treaty procured by coercion, but such a prohibition did not exist in 1903: Olivier Corten, ‘Article 52’, in Olivier Corten and Pierre Klein (eds.), The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties: A Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), p. 1204.

20 Marifeli Pérez-Stable, The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course and Legacy, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 37–42.

21 Jorge Ibarra, Prologue to Revolution (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1998), p. 125.

22 Philip Brenner, ‘Cuba and the Missile Crisis’, Journal of Latin American Studies, 22 (1990), pp. 115–42.

23 Gott, Cuba, p. 235; Pérez-Stable, The Cuban Revolution, p. 120.

24 Yuri Pavlov, Soviet–Cuban Alliance 1959–1991 (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1996), p. 17.

25 Ibid., p. 263.

26 Piero Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Cuba, Africa, and the United States (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p. 9.

27 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, UN Doc A/RES/2625 (1970).

28 William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh, Back Channel to Cuba: The History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2015), pp. 214–18.

29 Gott, Cuba, p. 212.

30 UNHCR, Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951, Article 1A(2).

31 In justifying armed intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965, US President Johnson stated that the ‘American nations cannot, must not, and will not permit the establishment of another Communist government in the Western Hemisphere’: Lyndon B. Johnson, Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Situation in the Dominican Republic, 2 May 1965, available at http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=26932, last access 27 July 2018.

32 LeoGrande and Kornbluh, Back Channel, pp. 47–8.

33 Ibid., p. 58.

34 Gott, Cuba, p. 180.

35 As stated in an exchange between the United States and Mexico in 1938, the so-called ‘Hull formula’: Green Haywood Hackworth, Digest of International Law, vol. 3 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1940), p. 655.

36 Gott, Cuba, pp. 183–4.

37 See, for example, Memorandum from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Mallory) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom), proposing a sanctions regime that made ‘the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government’: John P. Glennon, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Cuba, vol. 6 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1991), Document 499. See also Undersecretary of State George Ball describing the policy of ‘economic denial’ in detail on 23 April 1964, including: ‘to make plain to the people of Cuba and to elements of the power structure of the regime that the present regime cannot serve their interests’: George Ball, ‘Principles of Our Policy toward Cuba’, Department of State Bulletin, 50 (1964), pp. 738–44.

38 Richard E. Feinberg, ‘Reconciling US Property Claims in Cuba: Transforming Trauma into Opportunity’, Brookings Institute, Dec. 2015, p. 2.

39 LeoGrande and Kornbluh, Back Channel, p. 164.

40 Julio César Mascarós, Historia de la banca en Cuba, 1492–2000 (La Habana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2003).

41 ‘Text of US Announcement of Embargo’, New York Times, 20 Oct. 1960.

42 Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR 515, 8 July 1963.

43 Reports of International Arbitral Awards, 18 (1978), pp. 417–93.

44 Articles 49–53 ILC, Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, UN Doc A/56/49/(Vol. I)/Corr.4 (2001).

45 UN Doc A/PV/864 (1960).

46 Resolution on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources, UN Doc A/RES/1803 (1962).

47 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Territories and Peoples, UN Doc A/RES/1514 (1960).

48 Declaration on the Establishment of the New International Economic Order, UN Doc A/RES/3201 (1974).

49 Michael J. Glennon, The Fog of Law: Pragmatism, Security and International Law (Redwood, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010), pp. 62–4.

50 Community norms were recognised by the International Court of Justice in Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Co. Case (Belgium v. Spain), (1970) ICJ Rep, p. 3.

51 Articles 7, 3(g) Resolution on the Definition of Aggression, UN Doc A/RES/3314 (1974).

52 LeoGrande and Kornbluh, Back Channel, p. 193.

53 Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. US) (1986) ICJ Rep, p. 14 at para 247. The Court found at para. 245, without offering reasons, that a US trade embargo imposed on Nicaragua did not breach the customary international law principle of non-intervention.

54 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, ‘The Blockade Imposed by the United States against Cuba is the Major Violation of the Human Rights of the Cuban People’, 30 Sept. 2017, available at http://www.minrex.gob.cu/en/blockade-imposed-united-states-against-cuba-major-violation-human-rights-cuban-people, last access 21 June 2018; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, ‘Seventh Meeting of the Cuba–United States Bilateral Commission held in Washington DC’, 14 June 2018, available at http://www.minrex.gob.cu/en/seventh-meeting-cuba-united-states-bilateral-commission-held-washington-dc, last access 21 June 2018.

55 Johan Steyn, ‘Guantánamo Bay: The Legal Black Hole’, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 53 (2004), pp. 1–15.

56 Haney and Vanderbush, The Cuban Embargo, pp. 99–107. Cuban Liberty and Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act, Public Law 104-114, 12 March 1996 (Helms-Burton Act 1996). Cuban Democracy Act, Public Law 102-484, 23 October 1992 (Torricelli Act 1992).

57 Joy Gordon, ‘Economic Sanctions as Negative Development’, Journal of International Development, 28 (2016), p. 474.

58 William M. LeoGrande, ‘Enemies Evermore: US Policy towards Cuba after Helms-Burton’, Journal of Latin American Studies, 29 (1997), pp. 211–21.

59 Cuba was removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism by President Obama in 2015, having been on it since 1982: Julie H. Davis, ‘US Removes Cuba from State-Sponsored Terrorism Lists’, New York Times, 29 May 2015.

60 Helms-Burton Act 1996.

61 Torricelli Act 1992.

62 Section 110(a), Helms-Burton Act 1996.

63 UK Protection of Trading Interests Acts 1980 (applied by the Protection of Trading Interests Order, 1996, SI 3171, to trade with Cuba); Council Regulation (EC) Regulation 2271/96 (1996). Both remain in force, though there has been little enforcement. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)/UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) guidance of 29 October 2015 is pertinent here: ‘The UK Protection of Trading Interests Act makes it illegal for UK-based companies to comply with extraterritorial legislation (like Helms-Burton) and there is provision for fines to be levied against offending companies and individuals. In parallel an EU Blocking Statute also makes it illegal to comply’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/overseas-business-risk-cuba/overseas-business-risk-cuba, last access 16 June 2018.

64 Joy Gordon, ‘El Bloqueo: The Cuban Embargo Continues’, Harper's (July 2016), available at http://harpers.org/archive/2016/07/el-bloqueo, last access 16 June 2018.

65 Robert Muse, ‘Can Obama Lift the Embargo on Cuba without Congress in Effort to Normalize US–Cuba Relations?’, Democracy Now, 18 Dec. 2014, available at https://www.democracynow.org/2014/12/18/can_obama_lift_the_embargo_on, last access 16 June 2018.

66 US Department of the Treasury, ‘Treasury and Commerce Announce Further Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions Regulations’, 26 Jan. 2016, available at https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0328.aspx, last access 16 June 2018.

67 UN Secretary General's Report, ‘Necessity of Ending the … Embargo’, UN Doc A/71/91 (2016), pp. 33–5. Marija Đorđeska, ‘OFAC's Settlement with Commerzbank AG: Coerced Voluntary Settlements of the Competitively Disadvantaged’, EJIL Talk (blog of the European Journal of International Law), 20 March 2015, in which it is explained that OFAC relies on voluntary settlement by foreign companies and banks who would rather pay the fine than challenge it and lose access to the US economy and financial system: https://www.ejiltalk.org/ofacs-settlement-with-commerzbank-ag-coerced-voluntary-settlements-of-the-competitively-disadvantaged/, last access 16 June 2018.

68 US Department of the Treasury, ‘Frequently Asked Questions Related to Cuba’, 8 Nov. 2017, available at https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_new.pdf, last access 16 June 2018.

69 On 8 September 2017 President Trump extended the embargo of Cuba for a further year under the Trading with the Enemy Act: Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, https://cuba-solidarity.org.uk/news/article/3485/trump-quietly-extends-cuba-lsquotrading-with-the-enemyrsquo-embargo-mdash-just-as-irma-pummels-islandm, last access 21 June 2018.

70 Michael Putney, ‘Trump's Cuba Policy Looks a Lot like President Obama's’, Miami Herald, 20 June 2017. The amended regulations restricted financial transactions with those individuals and entities on the ‘Cuba Restricted List’ and restricted travel freedoms introduced by President Obama: US Department of Treasury, US Department of the Treasury, ‘Frequently Asked Questions Related to Cuba’, 8 Nov. 2017, Question 3.

71 The Cuban government claims that ‘There are only four aspects of the embargo that are beyond the reach of Presidential decisions: 1. The rule that prohibits US subsidiaries in third countries trading with Cuba (Torricelli Act). 2. The ban on transactions with United States properties that were nationalized in Cuba (Helms-Burton Act). 3. The law that prevents United States citizens from visiting Cuba as tourists (Trade Sanctions Reform and Enhancement Act of 2000). 4. The ban on granting financing for the sale of United States agricultural products to Cuba (Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000)’: UN Secretary General's Report, ‘Necessity of Ending the … Embargo’, UN Doc A/71/91 (2016), p. 32.

72 AAWH, Denial of Food and Medicine: The Impact of the US Embargo on Health and Nutrition in Cuba (Washington, DC: AAWH, 1997), available at http://www.medicc.org/resources/documents/embargo/The%20impact%20of%20the%20U.S.%20Embargo%20on%20Health%20&%20Nutrition%20in%20Cuba.pdf, last access 17 June 2018.

73 Brigitte Stern, ‘The Elements of an Internationally Wrongful Act’, in James Crawford, Alain Pellet and Simon Olleson (eds.), The Law of International Responsibility (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 193.

74 For example, IACHR, IACHR 2012 Annual Report, Chapter IV, ‘Cuba’, para. 17, available at http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/annual/2012/TOC.asp, last access 17 June 2018. See also Report to the UN Human Rights Council, The Situation of Human Rights in Cuba, 26 January 2007, para. 7, available at http://www.refworld.org/docid/45fead5a2.html, last access 17 June 2018.

75 Gordon, ‘Economic Sanctions’, p. 474.

76 For example, the prohibition of ships trading with Cuba from docking in the US meant that mixed cargoes containing medical supplies would not be exported to Cuba: see Cuban government's statement in UN Secretary General's Report, ‘Necessity of Ending the … Embargo’, UN Doc A/71/91 (2016).

77 For example, Oscar Elías Biscet et al. v. Cuba, IACHR Report No. 67/06, Case 12.476, 21 Oct. 2006.

78 OAS Doc OEA/Ser C/II.9, Doc 48, Rev 2 (1964).

79 OAS Doc OEA/Ser F/II, Doc 9/75 Rev 2 (1975).

80 On 3 June 2009, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Americas adopted resolution OAS AG/Res 2438 (XXXIX-O/09), which resolved that the 1962 exclusion of Cuba from participation from the OAS ceased to have effect. The 2009 resolution stated that the participation of Cuba will be the result of a process of dialogue initiated at the request of the government of Cuba, and will be in accordance with the practice, purposes and principles of the OAS. Cuba welcomed this development but has not yet re-joined the organisation.

81 Elena Katselli Prouaki, The Problem of Enforcement in International Law (London: Routledge, 2010), p. 285.

82 James Crawford, The International Law Commission's Articles on State Responsibility (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 302.

83 UN Doc A/64/PV.27 (2009), p. 29: Mr Rodríguez Parrilla (Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cuba).

84 UN, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide 1948, Article 1.

85 UN Secretary General's Report, ‘Necessity of Ending the … Embargo’, UN Doc A/71/91 (2016), pp. 36–43.

86 Cuba signed the Covenant in 2008 but has not ratified it. The US signed in 1977 but has not ratified the Covenant. Only ratification will oblige states to protect all the rights contained in the Covenant.

87 UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 3, ‘The Nature of States Parties Obligations: Article 2(1) of the Covenant’, UN Doc E/1991/23 (1991), para. 10.

88 While Article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the ‘threat or use of force’ in international relations, this is understood as covering only military force. Ian Brownlie, International Law and the Use of Force by States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963), p. 362. But see Jordan Paust and Albert P. Blaustein, ‘The Arab Oil Weapon – a Threat to International Peace’, American Journal of International Law, 68 (1974), p. 417.

89 The Cuban Embassy was reopened in Washington in July 2015, the first time since 1961: P. Lewis, ‘Cuban Embassy Opens in Washington but Important Issues Remain Unresolved’, The Guardian, 20 July 2015. The US Embassy in Havana was officially re-opened in August 2015: T. McCarthy, ‘US Embassy in Cuba Formally Reopens: “A Day for Pushing Aside Old Barriers”’, The Guardian, 14 Aug. 2015. But see J. Borger, ‘US Warns Americans to Avoid Cuba and Slashes Embassy Staff after Sonic Attacks’, The Guardian, 29 Sept. 2017.

90 Creighton University and USAID, ‘Report on the Resolution of Outstanding Property Claims between Cuba and the United States (Omaha, NE: Creighton University Press, 2007), pp. 3–5. See more recently Feinberg, ‘Reconciling US Property Claims in Cuba’. Both reports make it clear that under international law Cuba's obligation to compensate related only to properties and businesses that were owned by US nationals at the time of expropriation, and not to properties of Cuban citizens who subsequently received US citizenship.

91 David Muller, ‘The Iran–US Claims Tribunal’, in Crawford, Pellet and Olleson (eds.), Law of International Responsibility, p. 843.

92 Feinberg, ‘Reconciling US Property Claims in Cuba’, p. 24.

93 Steven Wheatley, The Democratic Legitimacy of International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 138. Some non-essential US embassy staff were withdrawn in September 2017 as a result of health concerns: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/04/16/u-s-cuban-relations-are-about-to-get-worse/, last access 21 June 2018.

94 LeoGrande and Kornbluh, Back Channel, p. 188.

95 Ibid., pp. 191–3.

96 Ian Johnstone, ‘The Plea of “Necessity” in International Law Discourse: Humanitarian Intervention and Counter-Terrorism’, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, 43 (2005), p. 381.

97 Rodney B. Hall, ‘Constructivism’, in Thomas G. Weiss and Rorden Wilkinson (eds.), International Organization and Global Governance (London: Routledge, 2014), p. 148.

98 Ian Hurd, International Organizations: Politics, Law and Practice, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 23. See further Alexander Wendt, ‘Constructing International Politics’, International Security, 20 (1995), pp. 71–81.

99 Hurd, International Organization, p. 23.

100 Hart, Herbert L. A., The Concept of Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961), pp. 126–9.

101 Koskenniemi, Martti, ‘The Place of Law in Collective Security’, Michigan Journal of International Law, 17 (2006), p. 476.

102 Section 205, Helms-Burton Act 1996. Raúl Castro stepped down as President on 19 April 2018, but retains his position as the First Secretary of the Communist Party.

103 LeoGrande and Kornbluh, Back Channel, p. 415.

104 ‘US Decides to Bring Cuba in from the Cold’, The Guardian, 18 Dec. 2014.

105 ‘Speech by Cuban President Raúl Castro on Re-Establishing US–Cuba Relations’, The Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2014.

106 White House, ‘Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba’, 17 Dec. 2014, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/17/fact-sheet-charting-new-course-cuba, last access 19 June 2018. For speech see ‘Statement by the President on Cuba Policy Changes’, 17 Dec. 2014, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/17/statement-president-cuba-policy-changes, last access 19 June 2018.

107 Section 109, Helms-Burton Act 1996.

108 Ted Piccone and Ashley Miller, ‘Cuba, the US, and the Concept of Sovereignty: Toward a Common Vocabulary?’, 9 Dec. 2016, available at https://www.brookings.edu/research/cuba-the-u-s-and-the-concept-of-sovereignty-toward-a-common-vocabulary, last access 19 June 2018. Another example of US-sponsored interference was the creation of Radio Martí in 1985: Wilson Sayre, ‘Radio Martí Turns 30 – But Is Anyone Listening?’, Miami Herald, 20 May 2015.

109 White House, ‘Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba’.

110 LeoGrande and Kornbluh, Back Channel.

111 Frances Robles, ‘Business or Politics? What Trump Means for Cuba’, New York Times, 15 Nov. 2016.

112 Glennon, The Fog of Law, pp. 122–3.

113 Ibid., p. 124.

114 ‘National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba’, 16 June 2017, available at https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspm/nspm-5.pdf, last access 19 June 2018. Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR 515, Federal Register, 82 FR 51998, 9 Nov. 2017, available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/11/09/2017-24447/cuban-assets-control-regulations, last access 19 June 2018.

115 Jorge I. Domínguez, ‘Can Trump Compete with Obama on Cuba?’, New York Times, 27 June 2017.

116 US Department of State, Media Note, ‘US Determination of Six-Month Suspension under Title III of LIBERTAD’, 14 July 2017, available at https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/07/272620.htm, last access 19 June 2018.

117 UN Secretary General's Report, ‘Necessity of Ending the … Embargo’, UN Doc A/71/91 (2016).

118 According to the Council of Foreign Relations Report, Cuba detained 8,600 political activists in 2015. The same report indicates that since December 2014 the US Treasury Dept. has fined companies more than $5.2 million for violating the embargo: Council on Foreign Relations, ‘US–Cuba Relations’, 7 September 2016, available at http://www.cfr.org/cuba/us-cuba-relations/p11113, last accessed 19 June 2018.

119 On 11 September 2015 the United States and Cuba established the Bilateral Commission as the primary vehicle for advancing normalisation, while on 8 December 2015 the US and Cuban governments held the first Dialogue on Claims with the aim of resolving claims against the Cuban government: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/issues/foreign-policy/cuba, last access 19 June 2018. US Embassy in Cuba, ‘United States and Cuba Hold Fifth Bilateral Commission Meeting in Havana, Cuba’, 7 Dec. 2016, available at https://cu.usembassy.gov/tag/bilateral-commission/, last access 19 June 2018. The third Dialogue on Claims meeting was held on 12 January 2017: Abel Fernández, ‘US and Cuba Meet to Discuss Human Trafficking and Confiscated Property Claims’, Miami Herald, 12 Jan. 2017. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, ‘Seventh Meeting of the Cuba-United States Bilateral Commission held in Washington DC’, 14 June 2018, available at http://www.minrex.gob.cu/en/seventh-meeting-cuba-united-states-bilateral-commission-held-washington-dc, last access 21 June 2018.

120 Feinberg, ‘Reconciling US Property Claims in Cuba’, p. 22.

121 Contained in Article 2(3) of the UN Charter 1945: ‘All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.’

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Ending the US Embargo of Cuba: International Law in Dispute

  • Nigel D. White (a1)

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