DECREE-LAW OF THE COUNCIL OF STATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA ON COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN CUBA AND THE United States of America
LET IT BE KNOWN:That the Council of State has agreed on the following:
WHEREAS: In a legislative action by the United States Congress entitled "Law for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking", an amendment that is in no way related to the above mentioned Act was treacherously introduced through vicious means.
WHEREAS: The aforementioned amendment constitutes a blatant act of aggression against the economy of our country to tighten the blockade by channeling Cuban funds arbitrarily held in blocked accounts to terrorist groups based in the United States of America under the pretext of compensating the families of persons killed close to Cuban shores in an incident provoked by repeated violations of our air space over many years, the dangerous consequences of which the authorities of that country were warned about many times over.
WHEREAS: In the specific case of the flights in which four people died, the Cuban authorities had respectfully informed the U.S. government weeks before, through a confidential and reliable channel, of the advisability of preventing such events to avoid disturbing U.S.-Cuba relations that were not particularly tense at that moment, and a constructive reply was received in due course. Then, the relevant orders of the top executive authority of that country were not observed and the fatal incident occurred when it was least expected or desired. Thus, the government of the United States of America is the sole responsible for this.
WHEREAS: The Cuban funds blocked in that country and now affected by the previously mentioned amendment belonged to the former Cuban state company EMTELCUBA for services rendered over 28 years (between 1966 and 1994) in telephone communications to people living in the United States and Cuba. These funds were illegally and arbitrarily retained in the U.S., however, the services were never interrupted in all those years.
WHEREAS: Such legislative amendment constitutes a powerful incentive to the smuggling of immigrants on crafts coming from the U.S., to violations of our territory and to acts of piracy by air and sea on the part of terrorist groups who feel protected to act with impunity.
WHEREAS: Such seizure of Cuban funds constitutes an unjustifiable, illegal and immoral action.
WHEREAS: None of the tens of thousands of relatives of the 3478 people who died or the 2099 who were somehow crippled for life as a result of thousands of terrorist acts and aggressions perpetrated by mercenaries organized, trained and commanded by successive U.S. Administrations have been compensated by the U.S. government.
WHEREAS: Article 12 (f), of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, rejects the violation of the inalienable and sovereign right of every State to regulate the use and benefits of telecommunications within its territory, in accordance with universal practice and the international conventions of which it is a signatory.
WHEREAS: The Constitution of the International Union of Telecommunications, a fundamental tool of this international organization of which Cuba is a signatory, recognizes the full sovereign rights of every State to regulate their own telecommunications.
WHEREAS: In Tittle 2, Chapter IV of Law No. 73 of the Tax System passed by the National Assembly of People’s Power of the Republic of Cuba on August 4, 1994, a tax on public services, including telephone, cable and telegraph services, is established for whose payment all natural and legal persons who render the services covered by this tax are liable.
THEREFORE: The Council of State, exercising the powers conferred to it by article 90 (c) of the Constitution of the Republic, adopts the following:
DECREE-LAW No. 213
Article 1: This Decree-Law is aimed at enforcing and regulating the payment of the Public Service Tax established in Law No. 73 of August 4, 1994 by the Tax System, concerning international telephone calls made between Cuba and the U.S., including the rules applying to the procedure for calculation, payment and liquidation of these calls.
Article 2: Subject to the Tax established by this Decree-Law are those Cuban and foreign legal entities that in the course of their business activities ordinarily or occasionally render the telecommunication services between Cuba and the United States of America in the national territory.
Article 3: The rendering of services is understood to have occurred on national territory when effected totally or partially, or when initiated or terminated, in the Republic of Cuba regardless of the place of coordination.
Article 4: For every minute of every telephone call between Cuba and the U.S., or vice versa, including calls made through third countries, the tax charged will be the equivalent of 10% of the basic per minute call rate applied to users in Cuba for calls made to the United States of America.
Article 5: For calls that originate in the United States and terminate in the Republic of Cuba, whether direct or through a third country, the Telecommunications Company of Cuba S.A. (ETECSA) will include the additional charge over and above the liquidation rate in the Service Agreement for telephone traffic agreed upon with the American operators.
Article 6: When calls from the United States to Cuba are made through third countries, the companies of those countries offering the corresponding services must include the tax established for the payment of each call made this way.
Article 7: Direct calls in both directions between users in Cuba and other countries, with the exception of the United states of America, will not be affected by the aforementioned tax.
Article 8: To prevent any attempts to evade the tax by making calls between Cuba and the United States through third countries, the Cuban government will guarantee the exemption of said tax to these calls between Cuba and said third countries based on the average of daily calls between Cuba and those countries during the three months prior to the signing of this Decree Law.
The Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers is empowered to establish the relevant regulations in order that the revenues of third country telephone companies are not impaired and the regular annual growth of communications between Cuba and said countries is taken into consideration.
Article 9: The Telecommunications Company of Cuba S.A. (ETECSA) will retain the revenues accrued to this effect which it will transfer to the Cuban government in compliance with current legislation.
Article 10: The tax established in this Decree-Law will be in force until the Cuban funds illegitimately blocked in the United states of America are fully returned with the corresponding interest.
Article 11: The revenues accrued to this effect will be used for the purchase of medical equipment, medicines and raw materials for their production, over and above Cuba’s current annual expenditure in hard currency on health care for our population.
Article 12: In case of any attempt by the U.S. authorities to prevent, blockade or confiscate the revenues derived from this tax, the Cuban government reserves the right to adopt whichever measures it deems relevant, including the total cessation of direct and indirect telephone communications between Cuba and the United States of America.
Article 13: This Decree-Law will be in force from its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba.
Given in the Palace of the Revolution on the 20th day of the month of October in the year 2000, "40th Anniversary of the Decision of Homeland or Death".
The President of the Council of State