anti-Cuba commercial law in Florida
WASHINGTON.—A U.S. federal judge has
blocked a new law in the state of Florida, scheduled
to take effect July 1, which bans governments from
hiring companies with business ties with Cuba.
According to the Mexican El
Universal newspaper, Judge Michael Moore ruled,
in a cautionary measure, that the law is in conflict
with the authority of federal government to
establish foreign policy and would mean interfering
in foreign affairs, traditionally the prerogative of
the executive power.
The ruling backed Odebrecht Inc, a
local subsidiary of the Brazilian giant Odebrecht
Construction, which filed a lawsuit against the
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), arguing
that the law was unconstitutional in terms of
attempting to set foreign policy.
Odebrecht Inc. is currently involved
in upgrading the Cuban port of Mariel and the new
law would prohibit state and local governmental
agencies from awarding the company contracts to the
value of at least one million dollars.
In its lawsuit, the company argued
that the law would prevent it from competing for
bids worth $3.4 billion in FDOT contracts this year,
and that the company had already suffered
irreparable damage because the law had scared off
possible trading partners and employees.
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed
the law in May during a ceremony in Miami and
subsequently appeared to retract it by issuing a
statement suggesting that the law was
The legislation was also sponsored
by two federal legislators and by an almost
unanimous majority in the state legislature. A new
hearing has not been fixed, and the judge instructed
the two parties to work toward a resolution.