Felipe VI challenges U.S. sanctions with visit to Cuba

Spanish Head of State King Felipe VI & Queen Letizia on visit to Havana. Photo: Juan Carlos Hidalgo/EFE via La Vanguardia
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Spain’s Head of State, King Felipe VI, is on a three-day visit to Cuba this week in an effort to strengthen diplomatic relations and show support for Spanish businesses operating in Cuba that are facing economic sanctions from the United States under the administration of President Donald Trump.

Felipe VI and Queen Letizia arrived in Havana on Monday for a series of meetings with Cuban government officials and some 260 Spanish companies doing business in Cuba. The official visit comes on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the founding of Cuba’s capital city, Havana.

► News Sources: Diario Granma, La Vanguardia and El País …

The visit’s protocol also included ceremonies that included a laying of a floral wreath at the monument to Cuban Independence hero José Martí, overlooked by the massive depictions of Cuban revolutionary heroes Che Guevara and Camilio Cienfuegos in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolution, site of the hours-long epic speeches of the past by the late-Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

In April, the Trump administration decided to activate a long-waived section of the 1995 Helms-Burton Act that allows litigation in U.S. courts against foreign companies operating in Cuba in violation of U.S. restrictions on conducting trade or business with the Caribbean nation.

Some 20 European, Canadian and American defendants are now being sued in U.S. courts, including Spain’s Meliá hotel chain and the Spanish hotel Iberostar Grand Packard, blacklisted by the United States for its co-ownership of a business group with the Cuban military.

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