Cuba’s government-run Radio Reloj website published a commentary Monday referring to American National Security Advisor John Bolton as a “warlock” and “neo-Nazi” for his opposition to the communist Castro regime.
The column, titled “John Bolton: Sinister Godfather of Helms-Burton,” appeared to be an attempt at a biographical feature in the context of the Trump administration allowing lawsuits against corporations that profit from property stolen from Americans during the Cuban Revolution. Americans have a right to sue over these properties as a product of the 1996 Libertad Act, known commonly as the Helms-Burton bill for its authors. Donald Trump is the first president not to bar Americans from exercising this right since the law passed over two decades ago.
The brief Radio Reloj article, rather than make an argument about the bill, instead strives to define Bolton as an enemy to Cubans who may not be familiar with the senior American official, using offensive epithets but framing them as biographical facts.
“His name is John Robert Bolton, he was born in Baltimore in 1948,” the article begins. “A neo-Nazi of the purest strain, not just because of his image, he has served as a permanent representative to the U.N. for Republican and Democratic governments.”
After accusing him of being a Nazi, the article condemns Bolton for “maintaining an intimate relationship … with the genocidal government of Israel.” The article then calls him “the warlock of the Helms-Burton law,” without explaining this term, and goes on to urge Cubans to rally against the United States during Wednesday’s May Day march, an annual celebration of Marxism.
In 1996, when the law passed, Bolton was working as an attorney at a private law firm. He worked at the Department of State from 1989 to 1993, but did not return to senior government service until the George W. Bush administration. Upon being nominated to represent the United States at the U.N., he faced significant criticism from the far left for working with Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), co-author of the Helms-Burton law.
Radio Reloj, like all legal media outlets in Cuba except for the newspaper 14 y medio, operates under the auspices of the Cuban communist regime – run through the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television. As a state-run outlet, it represents the opinions of the Cuban government.
The United States’ new policy was announced first by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on April 17 and later reinforced in a speech by Bolton that day.
“The Trump administration is proud to announce several further measures we are adopting to reverse the consequences of the disastrous Obama-era policies, and finally end the glamorization of socialism and communism,” Bolton said to an audience featuring veterans of the 2506 Brigade, responsible for the 1963 invasion at Bay of Pigs.
“I am pleased to stand before you and announce that we have decided to end the Helms-Burton Title III Waivers, once and for all. Americans who have had their private and hard-earned property stolen in Cuba will finally be allowed to sue,” he said.
The regime has expressed frothing outrage at President Trump’s decision to allow the Helms-Burton lawsuits.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla claimed Monday that the law “is inapplicable” and that Cuban communist law will protect corporations implicated in the U.S. lawsuits. “They have the backing of Cuban law, international law, and legislation in their own countries,” Rodríguez claimed, according to the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, Granma.
Granma claims that Cuban “Law 80,” which declares the Helms-Burton law void, can stop U.S. courts from accepting lawsuits.
Cuba’s second-in-command, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, announced Monday that this year’s May Day parade will be dedicated to condemning America and demanding the freedom of Brazilian socialist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, serving an eight-year prison sentence for corruption.
We'll see you in all squares across #Cuba on May Day to dennounce the blockade, the aggressive US policy against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, to demand #FreeLula, to ratify: "No one surrenders here". #SomosCuba #SomosContinuidad pic.twitter.com/OTcJEUwkSL
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) April 29, 2019
In 1959, before he had openly declared himself a communist, Fidel Castro began a series of mass thefts of private property in Cuba. While most victims were Cuban nationals, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that Castro stole $8.5 billion worth of American property – including ports, agricultural estates, hotels, and other buildings. Washington has certified nearly 6,000 claims against the Cuban government, which many use as an estimate for how many lawsuits are possible now that the White House no longer stands in the way of Helms-Burton lawsuits.
Bolton, in an interview with PBS this month, dispelled the notion that allowing Americans to sue for their stolen property is not intended as a “secondary sanction” on Cuba.
“It’s a question of who gets to take advantage of stolen American property,” he said. “I can’t wait for the lawsuits when these companies get up and say, but we should continue to benefit from the stolen property, without having to pay compensation for the losses that Americans have undertaken.”
The first lawsuit will be brought to a Florida courthouse on Thursday and will demand redress from Carnival Cruises, according to the Miami-based Radio-TV Martí. Dr. Javier García-Bengochea, the rightful owner of the Port of Santiago, is planning to sue the cruise line – and all others using the port to dock – for profits made from cruises to Cuba. The Castro regime and Carnival profit from the cruise line using the port, but neither party currently pays or even receives consent from García-Bengochea to use his property.