THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Jackson Hole, Wyoming) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release August 16, 1996
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
To further our continuing effort to help bring democracy to Cuba, I have asked Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stuart E. Eizenstat to serve as Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for the Promotion of Democracy in Cuba. His mission will be to engage our allies over the next six months on concrete measures to advance democracy in Cuba as we implement Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (Libertad) in the manner I described last month. I have also asked U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright and former U.S. Representative Dante Fascell -- distinguished former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee -- to serve as our advisers on how best to pursue this important objective.
On July 16, I decided to allow Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (Libertad) to enter into force -- putting companies doing business in Cuba on notice that by trafficking in expropriated properties they face the prospect of lawsuits in the United States. I also suspended the right to file suit for six months to allow us time to forge a common approach with our allies and trading partners to accelerate democratic transition in Cuba. U.S. allies and friends have long shared this goal, but we have not always agreed on how to achieve it. The time has come for us to take more concrete steps together.
At that time, I also announced that I would appoint a special representative to build international support for increasing pressure on Cuba to open up politically and economically; encouraging forces for change on the island; better targeting foreign assistance in ways that advance democratic goals; and promoting business practices that will help bring democracy to the Cuban workplace. In coming weeks and months, Stu Eizenstat will consult with Cuban-American civic leaders and Members of Congress here in the U.S. before traveling to Europe, Canada, and Latin America to enlist the cooperation of allied governments, non-governmental groups, and companies.
As stipulated by law, at the end of this six-month period I will review the progress we have made with our allies before deciding whether to continue the suspension of the right to sue under Title III.
I am confident that the democratic values and far-reaching interests that we share with our allies and partners will allow us to overcome disagreements over some aspects of the Libertad Act and refocus our attention where it belongs -- on promoting democracy in the hemisphere's only non-democratic nation.
Cuba's recent actions underscore the need for the United States and the international community to press hard for change on the island. In February, Cuban MiGs shot down without warning two unarmed U.S. civilian aircraft in international airspace, killing four innocent men. The Cuban Government has systematically repressed pro-democracy activists and independent journalists.
Stu Eizenstat has a unique combination of domestic and foreign policy experience as former President Carter's chief domestic policy adviser and as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union. Ambassador Eizenstat will continue to serve as Under Secretary of Commerce and as the State Department's special envoy for property restitution in Central and Eastern Europe.
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