Tightening of blockade legislation temporarily delayed

News from Cuba | Saturday, 30 June 2012

The US District Court has issued a temporary injunction preventing the Florida government from enforcing a recently-passed law that will stop companies from bidding on state and local government contracts if they do business in Cuba.

The injunction follows a lawsuit brought by the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht which - as well as holding millions of dollars in contracts in Florida - is currently modernising Mariel Port in Cuba.

The Florida-based subsidiary of Odebrecht argued that the legislation is unenforceable and unconstitutional because only the federal government has the power to set foreign policy.

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the law in May, only to cause a severe backlash in Florida’s Cuban-American community after he released a statement calling the law unenforceable. After vocal criticism, Scott reaffirmed his commitment to the law, saying its constitutionality would most likely be challenged, but that he pledged to defend it.

The law, which was due to take effect on 1st July, would apply to state and local projects worth $1m or more. All companies bidding for contracts would have to certify that they do not have any economic links to Cuba or Syria.

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