So my favourite coffee from the largest Caribbean Island has been banned by P*y**l. Basically if we sell any of this fantastic coffee they will not allow us to use their service. The reason is down to the Helms-Burton act, or to give it its longer name ‘An Act to seek international sanctions against the Castro government in Cuba, to plan for support of a transition government leading to a democratically elected government in Cuba, and for other purposes’.
This act has been condemned by the Council of Europe, the European Union, Britain, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and other U.S. allies that enjoy normal trade relations with Cuba. The governments argued that the law ran counter to the spirit of international law and sovereignty.
The law has also been condemned by humanitarian groups who argue that sanctions against an entire country will affect only the innocent population.
The European Union introduced a Council Regulation (No 2271/96) (law binding all member states) declaring the extraterritorial provisions of the Helms-Burton Act to be unenforceable within the EU.
The United Kingdom had previously introduced provisions by statutory instrument extending its Protection of Trading Interests Act 1980, (originally passed in the wake of extraterritorial claims by the U.S. in the 1970’s) to United States rules on trade with Cuba. United Kingdom law was later extended to counter-act the Helms-Burton Act as well.
Mexico passed the Law of Protection of Commerce and Investments from Foreign Policies the Contravene International Law, in October 1996, aimed at neutralising the Helms-Burton Act.
Similarly, Canada passed the ‘An Act to amend the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act C-54’ a law to counteract the effects of Helms-Burton.
And yet here we, are a small British business wishing to sell roasted Cuban coffee beans to members of the British public being told that we will lose our ability to trade on eBay or our own site, if we continue to offer Cuban coffee. Unfortunately as we need to use the most widely used internet payment method we have had to take down our Cuban coffee. We can only apologise. Sorry Cuba.