On the same legal issue, during the tenure of the US president George W Bush, there was a tightening of restrictions around the Cuba embargo and it became a bit harder for US citizens especially to access artwork from Cuba freely as had been the case before. This was also as a result of lobbying by some members of families who had had their art confiscated by the Fidel Castro regime when he took power (Yulia,
2010). This is particularly true with the case of the Billionaire Fanjul family that had a vast collection confiscated and later sold by the Cuban government. They lobbied to have anyone trading in their artwork declared to be in violation of trading with the enemy laws put in place to prevent trade with Cuba but under which artwork was exempted.
Another law that the Fanjuls and others are relying on in their quest to recover their lost artwork is the Helms- Burton Act which blocks people that deal in Cuban confiscated property and their immediate families from entering the United States and also opens them up to payment of potential damages. In this case there is the Argentinean art dealer Bruno Sciaoli whom they have ascertained to have in his possession one of their lost art pieces known as the Malaga Porta painted by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida.
This Act was however not acceptable to the European Union which then passed a resolution which prevents its enforcement within the EU. The issue of the law not being enforceable in the EU arises from the fact that the EU recognizes Cuba as a sovereign nation as well as its decision to nationalize assets which includes the confiscated art work. In the US its embargo laws prohibit trade in the confiscated properties from Cuba. If the state department tries and finds the art dealer Bruno Sciaoli guilty, then they will have opened a whole new era in the sales of this art works.