Speaking at a press conference on Friday to mark the 25th anniversary of Habanos S.A., Luis Sanchez Harguindey, the co-president of the company, told Spanish news agency EFE that he doesn’t anticipate the company being the target of any lawsuits brought under the 1996 Helms Burton Act.
“We’re aware of other foreign companies in Cuba that have been the target of lawsuits,” he said. “In our case, no. The truth is we’re at ease and don’t foresee any action against us,” he added, noting that he does not fear that any factories or farms are in danger. This falls in line with the fact that none of the Cuban tobacco companies are currently on the Cuba Restricted List, a list of entities subject to lawsuits, though that list is subject to change.
In particular, Title III of the act allows citizens and corporations of the United States to sue those who have been “trafficking” in property seized by the Cuban government on or after Jan. 1, 1959, the date of the Cuban Revolution. That portion of the Act had been suspended by every U.S. president since President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law in 1996 until the Trump administration did not renew the suspension on May 2. The decision not to renew the suspension came amidst political pressure placed on Cuba to end it support for Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.