Cuba Policy, Pre-November

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: After weeks of hand-wringing, President Clinton decided Tuesday to enforce tough anti-Cuba sanctions that would almost certainly cause a dispute with U.S. allies. Clinton will allow Cuban Americans to sue foreign companies who benefit from property seized at the time of the Cuban revolution. But the President tempered the enforcement of Title III of the Helms-Burton Law by imposing a moratorium on filing suits until February 1, well past the November elections. "This decision basically allows the President to punt on the issue for the next six months," says TIME's Doug Waller. "He is hoping that the time will allow him to convince the Europeans and other U.S. trading partners to either divest from Cuba or develop actions to promote democracy in Cuba. Neither is likely to happen." The European Union warned Monday that it would retaliate with trade sanctions of its own which would include requiring visas of U.S. businessman and blacklisting American companies who file suit under the law. Waller notes that the moratorium on filing suits is bound to make the Cuban-American community angry. Clinton was banking on the signing of the Helms-Burton bill to win critical Cuban-American votes in Florida and New Jersey. "Clinton hopes to mollify these voters by enforcing Title III," says Waller. "But they are not likely to accept the compromise. The 500,000 member Cuban-American community, through a powerful lobby in Miami, is intent on keeping U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba in a hardline direction, and they are opposed to the delay." -->