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Sanctions Targeting Cuba

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On Tuesday June 4, 2019, the Trump Administration announced additional changes to its Cuba policy, further restricting group people-to-people educational travel and limiting the types of aircraft and vessels authorized to travel to Cuba on temporary sojourn. Tuesday’s actions are intended to prevent travel from the United States to Cuba from enriching the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services. These changes, which took effect on June 5, 2019, are a further step toward implementation of the National Security Presidential Memorandum of June 16, 2017 “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba” and the Administration’s intent to restrict non-family travel to Cuba as announced by the President on April 17, 2019. Please see our blog posts covering these prior developments here and here.

On April 17, 2019, the Trump Administration announced several decisions that mark a significant shift in US policy toward Cuba, most notably by declaring that the United States will no longer suspend Title III of the LIBERTAD Act of 1996, which is also known as the Helms-Burton Act.

On March 4, 2019, Secretary of State Pompeo announced that beginning on March 19, the suspension of the right to bring private actions in US federal court against Cuban entities handling confiscated property under Title III of the 1996 Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act (known as the “Helms-Burton Act”) will not apply to Cuban entities or sub-entities identified on the State Department’s List of Restricted Entities and Sub-entities Associated with Cuba (the “Cuba Restricted List,” available here). The right to sue all other Cuban entities and foreign entities under Title III has been further suspended, but only for a 45 day period through April 17, 2019.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) announced final rules effective November 9, 2017, implementing the National Security Presidential Memorandum (“NSPM“) “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba,” signed by President Trump on June 16, 2017.  These final rules are available here and here.  Concurrent with the announcement of the final rules, OFAC and BIS each issued new and updated Cuba FAQs (available here and here).  OFAC also issued a Fact Sheet explaining the amendments resulting from its Final Rule.