Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How the Barack Obama administration continues to bully and harass Cuba with its application of the illegal & genocidal U.S. blockade against the Caribbean island

The following is taken from the PDF file (Spanish, English and French) published by the government of the Republic of Cuba, which is available on the Internet.

Abbreviations used in the document:
OFAC: Office of Foreign Assets Control
NGO: Non-Governmental Organization
USD: US Dollar

Principal measures taken by the US government and proposals made showing the continuance of the blockade and the attempts to tighten it. There are many varied examples ratifying the continuity of the blockade. According to an editorial published on March 3, 2013 by the Bloomberg business and finance agency, between 2000 and 2006 the United States government opened 11,000 investigation processes on presumed violations of the sanctions regime against Cuba. The same source indicates that 7,000 investigations about other countries were carried out. All this is taking place in a context where Cuba poses no threat to US national security, a fact admitted to by the US authorities themselves. The irrational acts against Cuba are also evidenced by the following examples:

- On May 9, 2013, OFAC fined The American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association, Inc. for a total of USD 348,000 for violating the bans defined in the Regulations for the Control of Cuban Assets and other sanction regimes against other countries. OFAC alleged that the company cleared three claims in favor of Cuba amounting to USD 40,584.

- On April, 2013, Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC), a British NGO, decided to buy 100 copies of the book The Economic War against Cuba. A Historical and Legal Perspective on the U.S. Blockade, by Salim Lamrani, published in March 2013 by the Monthly Review Press, a New York-based publishing house. However, the transaction between the NGO ́s bank, the Cooperative, and the account of the Monthly Review with the Chase Bank could not be completed because OFAC blocked the funds and demanded explanations from CSC about its relations with Cuba. CSC director Rob Millar expressed his amazement:

“They are using an extraterritorial legislation on economic sanctions against Cuba to prevent the sale in the United Kingdom of a book which describes the scope of the blockade against Cuba [...]. The ridiculousness of the US blockade is illustrated yet again by this case in which they try to prevent British readers from reading a book published by an American press”.

- On April 14, 2013, the Trademark Appeals Bureau, attached to the US Trademark and Patent Office, rejected the petition of the Cuban CUBATABACO company to cancel registration of the Cohíba brand name by the GENERAL CIGAR enterprise. The decision was based entirely on arguments given by US Courts ratifying that the Regulations for the Control of Cuban Assets prevent recognition of the prestigious Cuban brand.

- On March 5, 2013, OFAC fined US company Eagle Global Logistics (EGL) of Houston, Texas, associated to British transnational company CEVA LOGISTICS, with USD 139,000 for allowing its subsidiaries in other countries to provide cargo transport services to and from Cuba. - On February 22, 2013, OFAC imposed a USD 43,875 fine on the US affiliate of the Chinese enterprise Tung Tai Group, headquartered in San José. California, for signing sales contracts for Cuban scrap.

- On July 25, 2012, OFAC fined US citizen Zachary Sanders with USD 6,500 for traveling to Cuba in 1998 without a Treasury Department permit.

- On July 10, 2012, OFAC announced the imposition of a fine of USD 1,347,750 on the Great Western Malting Co. for facilitating the sale to Cuba of malt barley not originated in the US, by one of its foreign branches between August of 2006 March of 2009.

- On June 29, 2012, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) presented Draft Law H.R.6067, “The Law for Cooperation for Security in the Western Hemisphere” which, among other aspects, amends the Helms-Burton Act to prevent foreign investment in the Cuban oil sector. It also authorizes the President to impose sanctions on any country in the Western hemisphere that has military cooperation with countries sponsoring terrorism.

- On June 26, 2012, that same US House Representative presented Draft Law H.R.6018, “The Law for Authorization of Expenses for Foreign Relations” that would prohibit granting export permits to Cuba and other countries for the transfer of commercial satellites or other components or technologies listed as articles controlled by the Department of Commerce.

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 JG: See also Cuba Journal's post of October, 29, 2013.

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