Clinton cuts a deal to ostracise Cuba

PHIL DAVISON

Miami

Responding to Cuba's shooting down of two small American planes, President Bill Clinton cut a dramatic deal with the Republican-controlled Congress yesterday on a bill aimed at curtailing other countries' investments in Cuba with the specific aim of toppling Fidel Castro.

Although Mr Clinton had announced on Monday he would work with Congress on tighter sanctions, yesterday's deal came much more quickly, went much farther than expected and is bound to enrage Britain, its European partners, Canada, and other major investors in Cuba. There appeared little doubt that Mr Clinton had one eye on November's elections, notably on what could be the key votes of Cuban Americans in Florida.

Agreeing to back the so-called Helms-Burton bill, Mr Clinton unexpectedly accepted inclusion of a clause he had long and vehemently opposed. It would allow Americans (including Cuban exiles) to sue foreign investors who made use of any Cuban property or business confiscated during Mr Castro's 37-year communist rule.

Since Mr Castro nationalised virtually all major farms, businesses and properties after the 1959 revolution, the new US law could threaten countless investments by British and other foreign firms and discourage potential investors. In a compromise, the President will have the right to waive the controversial clause but only for six months at a time and only when the United States' national interests are deemed at stake.

Delighted supporters of the bill predicted it would be "the last nail in the coffin" for Mr Castro's long rule. Critics, however, said it would cause greater suffering for Cubans and that the Cuban leader would use it as an effective weapon for America-bashing and winning domestic grass-roots support.

The Helms-Burton bill had been passed by both the House and Senate, the latter somewhat watered down, but blocked by the White House until now.

The hard-hitting bill would allow the US to deny entry to any foreign company executive whose investment in Cuba had involved Castro-confiscated property. It turns the US embargo against Cuba into law, calls on the President to urge the rest of the world to join the embargo and authorises him to assist dissidents on the island.

Meanwhile, Cuban-Americans plan to fly and sail on Saturday to the area where Cuban MiG fighters shot down two Miami-based light aircraft last weekend, apparently killing all four crew. The exiles say they will toss flowers into the Straits of Florida, outside Cuba's territorial waters, and hold a memorial service while twoplanes of the Brothers to the Rescue group fly overhead.

US officials and Cuban exile moderates, who believe the downed planes were provoking Castro's government by approaching Cuba, fear the plan may lead to further incidents.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
News
people
News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Sport
premier leagueHull vs Tottenham match report
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Morgana Robinson
arts + entsIt is not easy interviewing Morgana Robinson. Here's why...
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin