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Bush to Waive Helms-Burton Law

Congress passed the Helms-Burton law in 1996  

By CNN Senior White House Correspondent John King

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Under pressure from key European allies, President Bush is poised to reverse a campaign position and, like President Clinton before him, continue to block suits by U.S. citizens against those who have benefited from property seized by Cuba following the 1959 revolution.

The so-called Helms-Burton law allows such suits.

But it also contains a provision allowing the president to suspend or waive that provision for six months at a time. President Clinton routinely signed such waivers, and Mr. Bush said during the 2000 presidential campaign that he believed U.S. citizens whose assets were seized should have the right to sue.

But that provision of Helms-Burton is routinely criticized by Canada and U.S. allies in Europe, who have hotel and other commercial interests in Cuba. Two senior U.S. officials said Mr. Bush was poised to issue a six-month waiver on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

The officials said the announcement would be coupled with word of several new steps designed to project a tougher line against Cuba, including new steps to tighten enforcement of the U.S. embargo against the island, and steps designed to overcome Cuban interference and jamming of Radio and TV Marti.

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