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Cablegate: Jamaica: Response to Cuba Libertad Act Title Iii

VZCZCXYZ0041
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKG #1730 3341625
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301625Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5674
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0090

C O N F I D E N T I A L KINGSTON 001730

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CCA
DEPT FOR WHA/CAR - JTILGHMAN
WHA/EPSC - LMARTILOTTA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/30/2017
TAGS: TRAD ETTC PREL JM XL
SUBJECT: JAMAICA: RESPONSE TO CUBA LIBERTAD ACT TITLE III
REQUEST

REF: A. SECSTATE 158768
B. KINGSTON 1681
C. 06 KINGSTON 2377

Classified By: Charge d'Affairs James T. Heg for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d
)

1. (C) Post has provided responses to questions listed in
reftel A. Post is unaware of any Jamaican investments in Cuba
or any Jamaican firm with a commercial presence in Cuba.
However, Jamaicans generally oppose U.S. policy towards Cuba,
which hampers post's efforts to gather accurate investment
data.

2. (SBU) There is no direct bilateral trade agreement between
the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and Cuba. There is a
CARICOM-Cuba Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement signed
July 5, 2000 of which Jamaica is a member. Cuba remains a
significant export market for Jamaica, with exports of USD 9
million for 2006. Imports for the same period are USD 2.8
million. Jamaican exports include pig feed, garments and
scrap metal. Imports from Cuba include copper, cement, clay
construction materials, and cigars. The GOJ, through the
Export-Import Bank, has an established line of credit with
Banco Nacional de Cuba in order to facilitate exports.

3. (C) Although Cuban political involvement in Jamaica was
strong at one time, now it has all but disappeared. The
Cuban government still provides significant social support
through educational scholarships and the occasional
deployment of medical personnel. The medical program "Mision
Milagro" (Miracle Mission) provides free medical eye care in
Cuba to Caribbean residents. The service is used by people
with cataracts or other treatable eye conditions. Cuba also
provided over four million energy-saving compact fluorescent
bulbs to households since February, 2006. (Note: the public
relations value for Cuba of the light bulb exchange was muted
as it is the subject of an ongoing GOJ corruption
investigation under which the former Prime Minister Portia
Simpson Miller (PSM) accrued a bill of USD 3.95 million for
the distribution of the bulbs It appears GOJ officials
awarded lucrative contracts to distribute the bulbs to two
firms recently incorporated by close friends or relatives.
The matter had been turned over the Director of Public
Prosecutions and the Fraud Investigation Unit. End note).

4. (SBU) Post is unaware of any recent measures taken by the
GOJ to advance democracy, human rights, and fundamental
freedoms in Cuba. Post has no evidence that the GOJ has
substantially changed its policies or actions toward Cuba in
the past year. Jamaica continues to maintain cordial
diplomatic relations with Cuba, its close geographical
neighbor. Prime Minister Bruce Golding, of the recently
elected Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) led government, released a
statement on September 12 saying Jamaica would continue its
diplomatic relations with Cuba. Golding stated, "both
countries could maintain and deepen their relations on the
basis of mutual respect and recognition." Golding made the
statement during a meeting with Esteban Laxo Hernadez, Vice
President of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba.
Golding added, "it was the prerogative of the Cuban people to
determine their own internal arrangement and given Jamaica's
commitment to a pluralistic democracy, he was satisfied that
both countries could expand their relations with due respect
for those rights."

5. (U) Jamaica has a diplomatic presence in Havana. To
post's knowledge, there have been no recent official visits
of Cuban or Jamaican representatives. Esteban Hernandez
invited PM Golding to Cuba during their September 12 meeting,
and Golding accepted, although no date for the visit has been
announced.

6. (C) Post continues to believe that suspension of the right
to bring action in U.S. courts against entities and nationals
trafficking in confiscated properties in Cuba is necessary to
U.S. interests. Singling out Jamaican entities or nationals
for prosecution would be counterproductive in achieving other
USG objectives. In post,s view, proceeding with the
implementation of Title III of the Libertad Act would
seriously complicate, and perhaps even compromise, our
efforts in areas of agreement. Actions against Jamaican
nationals would likely provoke a strong response from GOJ.
HEG

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