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Spouses, shareholders could lose visas too
published: Friday | May 21, 2004

SUPERCLUBS' ZEIN Issa-Nakash points out that not all the chain's properties in Cuba are at the centre of the dispute.

"The discussions with the State Department involve only one property," she told The Gleaner last night.

The following is the AP report.

SuperClubs boss John Issa is now in the United States. Letters were sent to officers of SuperClubs, a resort chain with properties throughout the Caribbean, including five in Cuba, said a senior U.S. official, asking not to be identified.

Visas would be denied to top executives, shareholders, their spouses and children starting 45 days after the date on the letters. It was not clear how many people would be affected.

The authority for cancelling visas is contained in legislation approved in 1996.

One purpose of the law, sponsored by former Senator Jesse Helms and Rep. Dan Burton, is to discourage foreign companies from investing in Cuba on properties confiscated from Americans. Such seizures were common in the early years of the revolution.

The 45-day grace period will enable SuperClubs to reconsider its investment in Cuba, according to the official.

HELMS-BURTON LAW

The Title IV provision of the Helms-Burton law has been invoked only on rare occasions over the years. Shortly after the legislation was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, it was imposed against Sherritt International Corp., a Canadian mining firm.

Two weeks ago, the Bush administration vowed to aggressively pursue enforcement of Title IV as part of a series of measures aimed at weakening Fidel Castro's government.

The new policy also calls for deployment of additional personnel to strengthen enforcement of Title IV.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American Republican from South Florida, has strongly supported enforcement of Title IV as a means of discouraging foreign companies from investing in Cuba.

She said she had not been notified of the action against SuperClubs but added that it did not come as a surprise because of Bush's recent endorsement of Title IV.

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