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Havana Journal: Cuba Politics

Cuba Politics news

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Sat, 29 Apr 2017 01:48:05 +0000


11/20/2015 05:32 PM
DOZENS of Cuban government businesses removed from US OFAC SDN list
According to the US Treasury’s OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List for November 19, 2015, dozens of Cuban businesses (all run by the Cuban government) have been desisted. One would expect a surge in US based businesses to now start operations in Cuba. CIMEX, Emerson No. 148 Piso 7, Mexico, D.F. 11570, Mexico CIMEX (a.k.a. COMPANIA DE IMPORTACION Y EXPORTACION IBERIA), Spain CIMEX (a.k.a. CIMEX CUBA; a.k.a. COMERCIO INTERIOR, MERCADO EXTERIOR; a.k.a. CORPORACION CIMEX S.A.), Edificio Sierra Maestra, Avenida Primera entre 0 y 2, Miramar Playa, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba; and all other locations worldwide CIMEX CUBA (a.k.a. CIMEX; a.k.a. COMERCIO INTERIOR, MERCADO EXTERIOR; a.k.a. CORPORACION CIMEX S.A.), Edificio Sierra Maestra, Avenida Primera entre 0 y 2, Miramar Playa, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba; and all other locations worldwide CIMEX IBERICA, Spain CIMEX, S.A., Panama CUBACANCUN CIGARS AND GIFT SHOPS, Cancun, Mexico CUBAEXPORT, Spain CUBAFRUTAS, Spain CUBAN CIGARS TRADE, Italy CUBAN FREIGHT ENTERPRISE (a.k.a. CUFLET; a.k.a. LA EMPRESA CUBANA DE FLETES), Pyongyang, Korea, North; Moscow, Russia; Barcelona, Spain; Rostock, Germany; Genoa, Italy; Syczecin, Poland; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montreal, Canada; Varna, Bulgaria CUBANA AIRLINES (a.k.a. EMPRESA CUBANA DE AVIACION), 32 Main Street, Georgetown, Guyana; 24 Rue Du Quatre Septembre, Paris, France; Belas Airport, Luanda, Angola; Dobrininskaya No. 7, Sec 5, Moscow, Russia; Corrientes 545 Primer Piso, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Frankfurter TOR 8-A, Berlin, Germany; 1 Place Ville Marie, Suite 3431, Montreal, Canada; Parizska 17, Prague, Czech Republic; Paseo de la Republica 126, Lima, Peru; Piarco Airport, Port au Prince, Haiti; c/o Anglo-Caribbean Shipping Co. Ltd., Ibex House, The Minories, London EC3N 1DY, United Kingdom; Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica; Melchor Ocampo 469, 5DF, Mexico City, Mexico; Calle 29 y Avda Justo Arosemena, Panama City, Panama; Grantley Adams Airport, Christ Church, Barbados; Madrid, Spain CUBANACAN (a.k.a. CUBANACAN GROUP; a.k.a. EL GRUPO CUBANACAN), Calle 68 e/5ta A, Apartado 16046, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba CUBANACAN GROUP (a.k.a. CUBANACAN; a.k.a. EL GRUPO CUBANACAN), Calle 68 e/5ta A, Apartado 16046, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba CUBANACAN INTERNATIONAL B.V, Visseringlaan 24, 2288 ER Rijswijk, Zevenhuizen, Netherlands; Registration ID 27134614 (Netherlands) CUBANACAN U.K. LIMITED, Unit 49 Skylines Village, Limeharbour, Docklands, United Kingdom; Registration ID 2720485 (United Kingdom) CUBANATUR, Baja California 255, Edificio B. Oficina 103, Condesa, Mexico, D.F. 06500, Mexico CUBATABACO, Spain CUBATUR (a.k.a. EMPRESA DE TURISMO NACIONAL Y INTERNACIONAL), Buenos Aires, Argentina HAVANA INTERNATIONAL BANK, LTD., 20 Ironmonger Lane, London EC2V 8EY, United Kingdom HAVANATUR, 54 Rue Richelieu, Paris, France HAVANATUR BAHAMAS LTD., East Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas, The HAVANATUR CHILE S.A. (f.k.a. GUAMATUR S.A.), Avenue 11 de Septiembre 2155, Edificio Panoramico, Torre C, Oficina 805, Providencia, Santiago, Chile HAVANATUR, S.A. (a.k.a. HAVANATUR S.A.), Gerardo Medina No. 633, e/Avenue Borregos y Carretera de Vinales, Pinar del Rio, Cuba; Edificio Sierra Maestra, Calle 1era e/ 0 y 2, Miramar, Playa, Ciudad Habana, Cuba; Avenue 40 esq. 41 #4101, Cienfuegos, Cuba; 1ra. Rotonda Cayo Coco, Moron, Ciego de Avila, Cuba; Monteagudo e/Cuba y Carretera Central, Camaguey, Cuba; Frexes no. 172 e/Morales Lemus y Narciso Lopez, Holguin, Cuba; Calle 8 no. 56 e/1era. y 3ra. Rpto., Vista Allegre, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; Hialeah, FL, United States; Maipu 464, Piso 10, Buenos Aires 1006, Argentina; Panama City, Panama; Avenue 3era e/ 33 y 34, Varadero, Cuba; C.U.I.T. 30-68074603-2 (Argentina) HAVANTUR CANADA INC. (a.k.a. 2904977 CANADA, INC.; a.k.a. CARIBE SOL), 818 rue Sherbrooke East, Montreal, Quebec H2L 1K3, Canada PANAMERICAN IMPORT AND EXPORT COMMERCIAL CORPORATION, Panama
03/25/2015 02:09 PM
OFAC releases updated SDN list removing some Cuba entities
Rob Sequin | Havana Journal Way down on page 13 of 14 on the OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL changes to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List dated March 24, 2015, you will see the list (below) of companies, vessels and individuals removed from the “SDN” list of entities blocked from dealing with US banks and other restrictions. Most are from Panama for some reason. Perhaps the removals are in good faith in preparation for President Obama’s arrival in Panama for the Summit of the Americas on April 10-11 where he will meet face to face with Raul Castro? Only two are from the United States… KOL Investments from Miami and Travel Services Inc. from Hialeah Florida. Perhaps the removals are part of Cuba anticipated removal from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list? Feel free to speculate but the next couple weeks should be interesting. Personally, I do not recall ever seeing any Cuba related SDN entities removed by OFAC. The following [CUBA] entries have been removed: ABASTECEDORA NAVAL Y INDUSTRIAL, S.A. (a.k. a. ANAINSA), Panama ABDELNUR, Nury de Jesus, Panama (individual) AGENCIA DE VIAJES GUAMA (a. k.a . GUAMA TOUR; a. k.a. GUAMATUR , S.A.; a.k.a. VIAJES GUAMA TOURS ), Bal Harbour Shopping Center, Via Italia, Panama City, Panama ALEGRIA DE PIO (Navier a Mariti madeArosa, Spain ) (vessel) ANAINSA (a.k.a. ABASTECEDORA NAVAL Y INDUSTRIAL, S.A.), Panama AVALON, S.A. , Colon Free Zone, Panama BEWELL CORPORATION, INC. , Panama BROTHERS (f.k.a. TULIP ISLANDS) ( C4QK) Bulk Carrier 25 ,57 3DW T 1 6,6 05 GR T Cyprus flag (Ciflare Shipping Co. Ltd.) (vessel) CARBONICA, S.A., Panama CARIBBEAN HAPPY LINES C O. (a.k.a . CARIBBEAN HAPPY LINES) , Panama CARIBBEAN SALVOR (9H 22 75) Tug 6 69DW T 856 GRT Malta flag (Compania Navegacion Golfo S.A.) (vessel) CARIBSUGAR, S.A. , Panama CARISUB, S.A., Panama CASTELL VALDEZ, Osval do Antonio, Panama (individual) CHAMET IMPORT , S.A., Panama COMPANIA PESQUERA INTERNACIONAL, S.A ., Panama DELGADO ARSENIO, Antonio, Panama (individual) DUQUE, Carlos Jaen , Panama (individual) FAMESA INTERNATIONAL, S.A. , Panama GLOBAL MARINE OVERSEAS, INC., Panama GRETE (a.k.a. PINECONE) (P 3QH 3) General Cargo 1,9 41DW T 753 GRT Cyprus flag (Pinecone Shipping Co. Ltd.) (vessel) GUAMA TOUR (a .k. a. AGENCIA DE VIAJES GUAMA; a.k.a. GUAMATUR, S .A.; a.k. a. VIAJES GUAMA TOURS), BalHarbour Shopping Center, Via Italia, Panama City, Panama HARNMAN H (f.k .a. PEONY ISLANDS) (5BXH) Bulk Cargo 2 6,4 00DW T 15, 86 4GRT Cyprus flag (PEONY SHIPPING CO. LTD.) (vessel) HERMANN SHIPPING CORP., INC., Panama HEYWOOD NAVIGATION CORPORATION , c/o MELFI MARINE CORPORATION S.A., Oficina 7, Edificio Senorial, Calle 50, Apartado 31, Panama City 5, Panama HYALITE (Whiteswan Shipping Co. , Ltd., Cyprus) (vessel) INVERSIONES LUPAMAR, S .A. ( a.k. a. LUPAMAR INVESTMENT COMPANY), Panama KASPAR (a.k. a. NEW GROVE) (P 3QJ 3) General Cargo 1,9 09DW T 754 GRT Cyprus flag (Oak grove Shipping Co. Ltd.) (vessel) KOL INVESTMENTS, INC., Miami, FL , United States LOUTH HOLDINGS, S.A., Panama LUPAMAR INVESTMENT COMPANY ( a.k.a . INVERSIONES LUPAMAR, S.A.), Panama NEW GROVE (f.k. a. KASPAR) (P3 QJ3 ) General Cargo 1,9 09DW T 754 GRT Cyprus flag (Oak grove Shipping Co . Ltd. ) (vessel) PADRON TRUJILLO, Amado, Panama (individual) PAMIT C ( a.k. a. TEPHYS) (H2R Z) General Cargo 15, 123 DWT 8, 935 GRT Cyprus flag (Tephys Shipping Co. Ltd .) (vessel) PEONY ISLANDS (a. k.a. HARNMANH) (5BXH) Bulk Cargo 2 6,4 00DW T 15, 86 4GR T Cyprus flag (PEONY SHIPPING CO. LTD. (vessel) PESCADOS Y MARISCOS DE PANAMA, S.A. (a.k. a. PESMAR S.A.; a.k .a. PEZMA R S.A.), Panama City, Panama PESMAR S.A. ( a.k. a. PESCADOS Y M ARISCOS DE PANAMA, S.A.; a. k.a. PEZMAR S. A.), Panama City, Panama PINECONE ( f.k. a. G RETE) (P3 QH3 ) General Cargo 1,9 41DW T 753 GRT Cyprus flag (Pinecone Shipping Co. Ltd.) (vessel) PIRAMIDE INTERNATIONAL, Panama POCHO NAVIGATION CO. LTD. , c/ o EMPRESA DE NAVEGACION MAMBISA, Apartado 543, San Ignacio 10 4, Havana, Cuba RADIO SERVICE, S .A., Panama RAVENS (9H 248 5) General Cargo 2,4 68DW T 1,5 86GR T Malta flag (ATAMALLO SHIPPING CO. LTD. (a .k.a . ANTAMALLO SHIPPING CO. LTD.) (vessel) RECICLAJE INDUSTRIAL, S .A., Panama ROSE ISLANDS (Shipley Shipping Corp., Panama ) (vessel) SIBONEY INTERNACIONAL, S.A. , Edificio Balmoral, 82 Via Argentina, Panama City, Panama; Venezuela STERN, Alfred Kaufman, Prague, Czech Republic (individual) TALLER DE REPARACIONES NAVALES, S.A. (a.k. a. TARENA, S.A .), Panama City , Panama TARENA, S.A. (a .k.a. TALLER DE REPARACIONES NAVALES, S.A .), Panama City, Panama TECHNIC DIGEMEX CORP., Calle 34 No. 4 -5 0, Office 30 1, Panama City, Panama TEMIS SHIPPING CO., Panama TEPHYS (f. k.a. PAMITC ) (H 2R Z) General Cargo 15, 123 DWT 8, 935 GR T Cyprus flag (Tephys Shipping Co. Ltd .) (vessel) TRAVEL SERVICES, INC., Hialeah, FL , United States TREVISO TRADING CORPORATION, Edificio Banco de Boston , Panama City, Panama TULIP ISLANDS (a. k.a. BROTHERS) ( C4QK) Bulk Carrier 25, 57 3DWT 1 6,6 05G RT Cyprus flag (Ciflare Shipping Co. Ltd.) (vessel) WEST ISLANDS (C 4IB) General Cargo 15, 136 DWT 9, 112 GR T Cyprus flag (WEST ISLAND SHIPPING CO. LTD. (vessel)
02/12/2015 05:49 PM
Another bill to end US Embargo - Freedom to Export to Cuba Act
Agriculture Ranking Member Senator Debbie Stabenow Announces Bipartisan Legislation Lifting Cuban Trade Embargo WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced her sponsorship of bipartisan legislation that would lift the more than 50-year-long Cuban trade embargo. In January, Stabenow went to Cuba as part of a congressional delegation seeking to normalize trade relations between the countries. That visit marked Stabenow’s second visit to the nation. “Lifting the Cuban trade embargo represents a tremendous opportunity for Michigan and America’s farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers,” said Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “After more than 50 years of stalemate, it’s time for a new policy on Cuba. By laying the groundwork for normal commercial relations, we can begin to provide greater access to the Cuban people to American products and more democratic ideas. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this bipartisan bill.” The Freedom to Export to Cuba Act, also sponsored by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Mike Enzi (R-WY), would comprehensively lift the Cuban trade embargo allowing U.S. companies to export products – including agricultural commodities and farm equipment – directly to Cuba. While the legislation would permit American consumers to purchase Cuban-made products, the bill would not lift travel restrictions. Additionally, the bill would remove financial restrictions on business transactions and allow U.S. banks to extend credit to Cubans for the purchase of American farm goods, auto parts, and other consumer products. Ben Famous: 202-224-1437
01/15/2015 04:23 PM
Newly eased Cuba trade and travel restrctions released by OFAC
Courtesy of Marc Frank - Reuters TREASURY AND COMMERCE ANNOUNCEMENT OF REGULATORY AMENDMENTS TO THE CUBA SANCTIONS Amendments Implement Changes Announced by the President on December 17 Related to the Easing of Cuba Sanctions WASHINGTON - On December 17, 2014 the President announced a set of diplomatic and economic changes to chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce today are announcing the forthcoming publication of the revised Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which implement the changes announced on December 17 to the sanctions administered by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).  The changes take effect tomorrow, when the regulations are published in the Federal Register. These measures will facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, facilitate the provision by travel agents and airlines of authorized travel services and the forwarding by certain entities of authorized remittances, raise the limits on and generally authorize certain categories of remittances to Cuba, allow U.S. financial institutions to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions, authorize certain transactions with Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, and allow a number of other activities related to, among other areas, telecommunications, financial services, trade, and shipping.  Persons must comply with all provisions of the revised regulations; violations of the terms and conditions could result in penalties under U.S. law. The regulations will be effective as of Friday, January 16. Major elements of the changes in the revised regulations include: TRAVEL In all 12 existing categories of authorized travel, travel previously authorized by specific license will be authorized by general license, subject to appropriate conditions.  This means that individuals who meet the conditions laid out in the regulations will not need to apply for a license to travel to Cuba. These categories are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions. The per diem rate previously imposed on authorized travelers will no longer apply, and there is no specific dollar limit on authorized expenses.  Authorized travelers will be allowed to engage in transactions ordinarily incident to travel within Cuba, including payment of living expenses and the acquisition in Cuba of goods for personal consumption there. Additionally, travelers will now be allowed to use U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba.  TRAVEL AND CARRIER SERVICES Travel agents and airlines will be authorized to provide authorized travel and air carrier services without the need for a specific license from OFAC. INSURANCE U.S. insurers will be authorized to provide coverage for global health, life, or travel insurance policies for individuals ordinarily resident in a third country who travel to or within Cuba.  Health, life, and travel insurance-related services will continue to be permitted for authorized U.S. travelers to Cuba. IMPORTATION OF GOODS Authorized U.S. travelers to Cuba will be allowed to import up to $400 worth of goods acquired in Cuba for personal use.  This includes no more than $100 of alcohol or tobacco products. TELECOMMUNICATIONS In order to better provide efficient and adequate telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba, a new OFAC general license will facilitate the establishment of commercial telecommunications facilities linking third countries and Cuba and in Cuba. The commercial export of certain items that will contribute to the ability of the Cuban people to communicate with people within Cuba, in the United States, and the rest of the world will be authorized under a new Commerce license exception (Support for the Cuban People (SCP)) without requiring a license.  This will include the commercial sale of certain consumer communications devices, related software, applications, hardware, and services, and items for the establishment and update of communications-related systems. Additional services incident to internet-based communications and related to certain exportations and reexportations of communications items will also be authorized by OFAC general license. CONSUMER COMMUNICATIONS DEVICES Commercial sales, as well as donations, of the export and reexport of consumer communications devices that enable the flow of information to from and among the Cuban people – such as personal computers, mobile phones, televisions, memory devices, recording devices, and consumer software – will be authorized under Commerce’s Consumer Communication Devices (CCD) license exception instead of requiring licenses. FINANCIAL SERVICES Depository institutions will be permitted to open and maintain correspondent accounts at a financial institution that is a national of Cuba to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions. U.S. financial institutions will be authorized to enroll merchants and process credit and debit card transactions for travel-related and other transactions consistent with section 515.560 of the CACR.  These measures will improve the speed and efficiency of authorized payments between the United States and Cuba. REMITTANCES The limits on generally licensed remittances to Cuban nationals other than certain prohibited Cuban Government and Cuban Communist Party officials will be increased from $500 to $2,000 per quarter.  Certain remittances to Cuban nationals for humanitarian projects, support for the Cuban people, or development of private businesses will be generally authorized without limitation.  These general licenses will allow remittances for humanitarian projects in or related to Cuba that are designed to directly benefit the Cuban people; to support the Cuban people through activities of recognized human rights organizations, independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy, and activities of individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba; and to support the development of private businesses, including small farms. Authorized travelers will be allowed to carry with them to Cuba $10,000 in total family remittances, periodic remittances, remittances to religious organizations in Cuba, and remittances to students in Cuba pursuant to an educational license. Under an expanded general license, banking institutions, including U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities and U.S.-registered money transmitters, will be permitted to process authorized remittances to Cuba without having to apply for a specific license.  THIRD COUNTRY EFFECTS U.S.-owned or -controlled entities in third countries, including banks, will be authorized to provide goods and services to an individual Cuban national located outside of Cuba, provided the transaction does not involve a commercial exportation of goods or services to or from Cuba. OFAC will generally authorize the unblocking of accounts of Cuban nationals who have permanently relocated outside of Cuba. OFAC is issuing a general license that will authorize transactions related to third-country conferences attended by Cuban nationals. In addition, a general license will authorize foreign vessels to enter the United States after engaging in certain trade with Cuba. SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH Certain micro-financing projects and entrepreneurial and business training, such as for private business and agricultural operations, will be authorized. Also, commercial imports of certain independent Cuban entrepreneur-produced goods and services, as determined by the State Department on a list to be published on its website, will be authorized. CASH IN ADVANCE The regulatory interpretation of “cash in advance” is being redefined from “cash before shipment” to “cash before transfer of title to, and control of,” the exported items to allow expanded financing of authorized trade with Cuba.  SUPPORTING DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS AND USG OFFICIAL BUSINESS The President announced the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.  To facilitate that process, OFAC is adding a general license authorizing transactions with Cuban official missions and their employees in the United States. In addition, in an effort to support important U.S. government interests, an expanded general license will authorize Cuba-related transactions by employees, grantees, and contractors of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain international organizations in their official capacities. SUPPORT FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE Exports and reexports to provide support for the Cuban people in three areas:  improving living conditions and supporting independent economic activity; strengthening civil society; and improving communications – will be eligible under Commerce’s SCP license exception. To improve living conditions and support independent economic activity, SCP will authorize: (1) building materials, equipment, and tools for use by the private sector to construct or renovate privately-owned buildings, including privately-owned residences, businesses, places of worship, and building for private sector social or recreational use; (2) tools and equipment for private agricultural activity; and (3) tools, equipment, supplies, and instruments for use by private sector entrepreneurs. To strengthen civil society, SCP will authorize export and reexport of donated items and temporary export and reexport by travelers to Cuba of items for use in scientific, archaeological, cultural, ecological, educational, historic preservation, or sporting activities.  SCP will also authorize exports and reexports to human rights organizations, individuals, or non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society. Travelers will also be able to export temporarily items for use in professional research in the traveler’s profession or full time field of study under SCP.  The activities or research must not be related to items on the United States Munitions List or items controlled for sensitive reasons on the Commerce Control List. To improve communications, SCP will authorize exports and reexports of items for use by news media personnel and U.S. news bureaus. SCP will not authorize the export of items on the Commerce Control List for sensitive reasons such as national security, nuclear proliferation, regional stability, missile technology, and other reasons of similar sensitivity. GIFT PARCELS Consolidated shipments of gift parcels will be eligible for the same Commerce license exception that authorizes individual gift parcels. LIBERALIZING LICENSE APPLICATION REVIEW POLICY Commerce will set forth a general policy of approval for applications to export or reexport items necessary for the environmental protection or enhancement of U.S. and international air and water quality or coastlines (including items that enhance environmental quality through energy efficiency).
01/05/2015 03:30 PM
New US Cuba trade and travel regulations to be published soon
Excerpted from the New York Times Before any changes of US Cuba trade and travel policies can be changed, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) needs to publish newly updated regulations. The new regulations are expected to be published some time in January. Currently, General licenses, which require no special application or permission are currently authorized for the types of travel listed below. Note that General licenses are not printed on any paper. A traveler simply states he or she has traveled to Cuba on a General license for reasons such as: US Travel to Cuba Changes 1. Persons visiting a “close relative” who is a Cuban national and “persons traveling with them who share a common dwelling as a family with them.” (Obama authorized this in 2009.) 2. Government business. 3. Journalists regularly employed at a news organization. 4. Certain researchers and professionals. 5. Certain college faculty and students or others participating in educational activities. 6. Certain religious activities. 7. Telecommunications providers. (Obama authorized telecommunications providers to pursue licensing agreements in 2009.) 8. Producers or distributors of agricultural or medical goods. 9. Other specific licenses to travel are granted on a case-by-case basis. Under President Obama’s direction, OFAC is expected to open up general licenses to travel to Cuba for the reasons listed below, which previously required approval on a case-by-case basis: 1. Public performances, workshops and athletic competitions. 2. Support for the Cuban people, including human rights work. 3. Humanitarian work. 4. Private foundations and institutes. 5. Information dissemination. 6. Travel related to export of authorized products. As you can see, all the travel is “purposeful” travel so don’t plan to go to Cuba for a beach vacation. However, note that travelers do not need to “check in” or get some card stamped saying that you have to prove what you did every day while in Cuba. It is a good idea to have an itinerary with you upon return to the US. US Banking and Trade Changes Currently, no transactions involving the property of a Cuban national (including purchasing Cuban cigars in third countries or signing a Cuba-related contract with a foreign firm). However, the following changes are expected to be allowed when the new OFAC regulations are published. United States institutions will be able to open accounts at Cuban financial institutions. Travelers to Cuba will be allowed to use American credit and debit cards. United States entities in third countries will be allowed to engage in transactions and meetings with Cuban individuals in third countries. Exports to Cuba are limited to certain agricultural goods and medical devices. Imports from Cuba include most art and information materials. However, the following items are expected to be allowed when the new OFAC regulations are published. 1. Certain items that support the Cuban private sector will be allowed for export from the US to Cuba, including certain building materials and agricultural equipment. 2. Certain items that support telecommunications in Cuba will be allowed for export, and companies will be allowed to establish related infrastructure. 3. Licensed American travelers will be able to import $400 worth of goods (including up to $100 in tobacco and alcohol). US Transfer of Money to Cuba Authorized travelers are now permitted to carry $3,000 in remittances to Cuba. There are no limits on remittances to religious organizations. There are no limits on sending remittances to close relatives. (Obama authorized this in 2009.) Remittances of up to $500 per quarter may be made to any Cuban national for humanitarian needs. - That limit will be raised to $2,000 a quarter. Licenses are required for remittance forwarding services (other than depository institutions). - Licenses will no longer be required. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be notified as soon as the new OFAC regulations are published and for other important and interesting Cuba news articles and information.
06/27/2014 06:52 PM
Red Bull pays $90,000 for OFAC Cuba travel sanction violations
Red Bull North America, Inc. Settles Potential Civil Liability for Alleged Violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515: Red Bull North America, Inc. (“RBNA”) has agreed to pay $89,775 to settle potential civil liability for seven alleged violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31. C.F.R. part 515 (the “CACR”). Between June 8 and June 18, 2009, seven representatives of RBN A traveled to Cuba in order to film a documentary, without authorization from OFAC. The production of the film, as well as the associated travel, was approved by RBNA management. OFAC determined that RBNA did not voluntarily self -disclose the alleged violations and that the alleged violations constituted a non-egregious case. The maximum penalty amount for the alleged violations was $455,000, and the base penalty amount was $105,000. The settlement reflects OFAC’s consideration of the following facts and circumstances, pursuant to the General Factors under OFAC’s Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines, 31 C.F.R. part 501, app. A: RBNA had prior knowledge of U.S. sanctions on Cuba and took steps to conceal the transactions; RBNA is a U.S. subsidiary of a sophisticated multinational company with extensive experience in international trade; RBNA made a remedial response by instituting an OFAC compliance program; and RBNA has not received a penalty notice or Finding of Violation from OFAC in the five years preceding the date of the unauthorized travel to Cuba. ——————————Havana Journal Comments—————————— I guess this will pay the salary of one of the OFAC workers in charge of enforcing such a ridiculous US foreign policy.
05/19/2014 11:32 PM
Open Letter to president Obama: ease Cuba trade and travel embargo
(official title: Support Civil Society in Cuba) Dear Mr. President, Your administration has taken several important steps to support the Cuban people by opening travel for Cuban-American families, expanding remittances, and enabling purposeful travel for more Americans. Those policies have fostered direct contacts between the United States and the Cuban people, provided a lifeline for average Cubans, and empowered Cuban civil society. As a result, Cuban society and U.S. society are sharing more information and are more connected today than in the past fifty years. Now more than ever the United States can help the Cuban people determine their own destiny by building on the U.S. policy reforms that have already been started. Such efforts would seek to provide openings and opportunities to support the Cuban people in their day-to-day economic activities, and in their desire to connect openly with each other and the outside world and to support the broad spectrum of civil society, independent, non-state organizations created to further individual economic and social needs irrespective of political orientation. Doing so not only promises to deepen the contacts between the U.S. and Cuban society, it will also help Cubans increase their self-reliance and independence. But timing matters and this window of opportunity may not remain open indefinitely. At the same time, the U.S. is finding itself increasingly isolated internationally in its Cuba policy. In the current political climate little can be done legislatively, but the Obama Administration has an unprecedented opportunity to usher in significant progress using its executive authority at a time when public opinion on Cuba policy has shifted toward greater engagement with the Cuban people while continuing to pressure the Cuban government on human rights. The undersigned members—individuals from the private sector, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and foundations— acknowledge and appreciate the steps you have taken to improve U.S. – Cuban relations. We further propose the following recommendations that you, Mr. President, can take through executive authority to deepen the changes already underway by giving greater freedom to private organizations and individuals to directly and indirectly serve as catalysts for meaningful change in Cuba. 1. Expand and safeguard travel to Cuba for all Americans a. Expand general licensed travel to include exchanges by professional organizations, including those specializing in law, real estate and land titling, financial services and credit, hospitality, and any area defined as supporting independent economic activity. b. Expand travel by general license for NGOs and academic institutions and allow them to open Cuban bank accounts with funds to support their educational programs in Cuba. c. Authorize U.S. travelers to Cuba to have access to U.S.-issued pre-paid cards and other financial services—including travelers’ insurance—to expand possibilities for commerce with independent entrepreneurs and safeguard people-to-people travel. 2. Increase support for Cuban civil society a. Allow unlimited remittances to non-family members for the purpose of supporting independent activity in Cuba and expand the types of goods that travelers may legally take to the Island to support micro-entrepreneurs. b. Establish new licenses for the provision of professional services to independent Cuban entrepreneurs. c. Authorize the import and export of certain goods and services between the U.S. private sector and independent Cuban entrepreneurs. d. Allow U.S.NGOs and other organizations to lend directly to small farmers, cooperatives, self-employed individuals, and micro-enterprises in Cuba. e. Permit family remittances to be used as credits or equities in Cuban micro-enterprises and small farms. f. Allow U.S. academic institutions to issue scholarships for exceptional Cuban students. g. Allow for Cuban entrepreneurs to participate in internships in U.S. corporations and NGOs. h. Promote agricultural exchange studies between U.S.-based NGOs and private cooperative farms in Cuba. i. Authorize the sale of telecommunications hardware in Cuba, including cell towers, satellite dishes, and handsets. j. Authorize general travel licenses for the research, marketing and sale of telecommunications equipment. k. Authorize telecommunications hardware transactions to be conducted through general license in the same manner as existing transactions for agricultural products. 3. Prioritize principled engagement in areas of mutual interest a. The Obama Administration should engage in serious discussions with Cuban counterparts on mutual security and humanitarian concerns, such as national security, migration, drug interdiction, and the environment, among others. The United States should leverage these talks to press Cuban officials on matters such as the release of Alan Gross and on-going human rights concerns. 4. Obama administration should take steps to assure financial institutions that they are authorized to process all financial transactions necessary and incident to all licensed activities. Signatories of this open letter (The signatories below have signed this letter in their personal capacities; they do not reflect the views of their company, organization or university, current or past) John Adama, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Retired); former Deputy U.S. Military Representative to NATO; former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, U.S. Army Ricky Arriola, CEO of Inktel Joe Arriola, former Manager of the City of Miami Bruce Babbitt, former Governor of Arizona; former Secretary of the Interior Harriet Babbitt, former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States Carol browner, former EPA Administrator; former Director of White House Office of Climate Change and Energy Policy Diana Campoamor, President, Hispanics in Philanthropy Paul Cejas, former U.S. Ambassador; President and CEO, PLC Investments, Inc. Gustavo A. Cisneros, Chairman, Cisneros Group of Companies Jeffrey Davidow, former Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Byron Dorgan, former U.S. Senator Andres Fanjul, Fanjul Group Richard Feinberg, former Latin American Advisor to the White House; Professor, University of California, San Diego Christopher Findlater Mike Fernandez, Chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners The right reverend Leo Frade, Episcopal Bishop of Southeast Florida Pedro A. Freyre, Partner, Akerman LLP Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture; former Congressman from Kansas lee Hamilton, former U.S. House Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Jane Harman, former Congresswoman David Hernandez, Co-Founder and CEO of Liberty Power Vicki Huddleston, U.S. Ambassador (retired); former Chief of the U.S. Interests Section; former Director of Cuban Affairs at Department of State Peter J. Johnson, Associate to David Rockefeller Eduardo Mestre, Senior Advisor at Evercore; Board member of Avis Budget and Comcast Corporation Marcelino Miyares, President MM Communications Inc. Moises Naím, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace John Negroponte, former Deputy Secretary of State; former Director of National Intelligence Michael Parmly, former Chief of U.S. Interest Section, Havana Ralph Patino, Civil Trial Attorney; Futuro Fund Board Member Jorge Pérez, Chairman, CEO and Founder, The Related Group Ambassador Thomas Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Rockefeller, Honorary Chairman, Americas Society/Council of the Americas Christopher Sabatini, Senior Director of Policy, Americas Society/Council of the Americas; Editor-in-Chief, Americas Quarterly Carlos Saladrigas, Chairman of Regis HR; Chairman of the Cuba Study Group; member of the board of Duke Energy Corporation and Advance Auto Parts, Inc. ken Salazar, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior; former U.S. Senator; former Colorado Attorney General Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas Society/Council of the Americas ambassador Charles Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela; President, Institute of the Americas Anne-Marie slaughter, President and CEO of the New America Foundation; former Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. Department of State Hilda l. Solis, former U.S. Secretary of Labor; former Member of Congress Enrique Sosa, former President of Dow Chemical North America Admiral James Stavridis, Commander of U.S. Southern Command 2006–2009; Supreme Allied Commander NATO 2009–2013; Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University Alan Stoga, President/Founder, Zemi Communications; Vice Chairman, Americas Society Strobe Talbott, former Deputy Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; Professor of Government and International Affairs, Georgetown University Alexander Watson, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs George Weiksner, Vice Chairman, Credit Suisse For more information on this, follow them on twitter at #SupportCubanpeople ——————————Havana Journal Comments—————————— Add me to that list This is a very well thought out letter with some very dignified signatories on the list. Obama CLEARLY has the “cover” needed to move forward with pretty much any easing of the Cuba trade and/or travel embargo. Really, who is going to fight back? Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Menendez or a Diaz-Balart. So what??? They are self-serving anti-American dinosaurs. Multi-millionaire Jorge Perez now supports lifting the embargo. The very influential US Chamber of Commerce is planning a visit to Cuba soon. So, the question is… does Obama have the courage to make ANY changes to US Cuba policy and/or the embargo? I’ll give him until mid July before I say he does not have the courage. Fair enough?
05/11/2014 05:33 PM
Progresso Weekly publishes article denouncing Yoani Sanchez by translator
By Progreso Weekly Yoani Sánchez’s Italian-language translator for the past six years, Gordiano Lupi, on Friday (May 9) published an article blasting the Cuban blogger for being arrogant, mercenary, and greedy. Its title: “Yoani Sánchez: Her new journal is my freedom.” Lupi, 54, is a respected translator, having translated into Italian works by José MartÌ, Heberto Padilla, Virgilio Piñera, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Alejandro Torreguitart Ruiz, and many others. The article, which appeared in the independent website Il Gazetin, is so revealing — coming from a man who knew Sánchez for a long time — that Progreso Weekly has translated it from the Italian and is publishing it here. Our translator’s clarifications appear [in brackets.] ****** Yoani Sánchez has terminated her contract with [the Italian daily] La Stampa and has made me a free man who, until yesterday, could not say what I thought, in view of the fact that I translated her. Now that I no longer have any connection [with her] and that the interests of the world’s richest and most rewarded blogger are in the hands of her agent, Erica Berla, I can remove the pebbles from my shoes. They were hurting me. READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE ——————————Havana Journal Comments—————————— Havana Journal Inc., a Massachusetts corporation since 2004, owns the domain name YoaniSanchez.com and points it to the Yoani Sanchez section here at HavanaJournal.com. We are an active Cuba information resource since 2003 and we use this intellectual property in order to inform our readers about Yoani Sanchez news. We were recently asked to relinquish this intellectual property (the inquiry has nothing to do with Progreso Weekly in any way) to someone claiming to represent Yoani Sanchez. We do not doubt this person’s professional relationship with Yoani but we do not give up our intellectual property because someone simply asks us to do so. YoaniSancez.com is not for sale. Havana Journal Inc. has legitimate rights and interest in the domain name and it is being used in good faith (fair use) to provide information about this world famous Cuban citizen. We support her efforts to disseminate information in Cuba and we support her right to travel, speak and write freely in and out of Cuba. May 16 update I just tweeted “Yoani Sanchez raises $150,000 to start 14ymedio digital Cuba newspaper. WOW. Why so much? http://buff.ly/1sAiWki “ 1. Named 14 y medio because of the year and floor number of her apartment? Huh? 2. Website is not resolving. I suppose maybe the website will be live on May 21? 3. $150,000 to launch a digital newspaper (web site and USB sticks) with no paid employees? Where do I get that kind of funding? I wish her well but, geesh, off to an odd start.
05/07/2014 12:25 AM
Cuba travel website Decolar.com pays $2.8million for OFAC violations
OFAC Civil Penalties Release Decolar.com,  Inc. Settles Potential Civil Liability for Apparent Violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations:  Decolar.com, Inc. (previously known as Despegar.com, Inc.), together with its subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively “Decolar”), a Delaware company with headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has agreed to pay $2,809,800 to settle potential civil liability for apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. 31 C.F.R. part 515 (the “CACR”).  From March 2, 2009, through March 31, 2012, Decolar appears to have dealt in property in which Cuba or Cuban nationals had an interest when its foreign subsidiaries assisted 17,836 persons with flight reservations for travel between Cuba and countries other than the United States and/or hotel reservations for stays in Cuba, without authorization from OFAC. OFAC determined that Decolar voluntarily self-disclosed this matter to OFAC and that the apparent violations occurred “prior to agency notice.”  Under the Cuba Penalty Schedule, 68 Fed. Reg. 4429 (Jan. 29, 2003), the base penalty for the apparent violations is $4,460,000. The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s consideration of the following facts and circumstances: (1) Decolar demonstrated reckless disregard for U.S. sanctions requirements when it failed to ascertain the U.S. sanctions requirements applicable to its business operations, relying instead upon a third party’s oral assurances that Decolar’s conduct did not require an OFAC license. With the exercise of appropriate due diligence, Decolar’s senior management reasonably should have been aware of the applicable prohibitions under the CACR. Based upon the number of apparent violations and the length of time over which they occurred, the apparent violations also appear to have resulted from a pattern or practice of conduct; (2) Decolar’s senior management appears to have been aware that its foreign subsidiaries were providing Cuba-related travel services to third-country nationals; (3) The apparent violations resulted in significant harm to U.S. sanctions program objectives regarding Cuba; (4) Decolar, which has a large customer base and established operations in numerous countries, is a sophisticated travel services provider; and (5) Decolar had no OFAC risk-based compliance program at the time of the apparent violations. OFAC Enforcement also considered the following to be mitigating factors: (1) The Cuba-related transactions appear to have been a very small portion of Decolar’s overall business; (2) Decolar has not been the subject of any prior OFAC enforcement action in the five years preceding the earliest date of the transactions giving rise to the apparent violations; (3) Upon discovering the apparent violations, Decolar immediately stopped offering any Cuba-related travel services to any of its customers,  Decolar also recently adopted OFAC compliance policies and procedures;  and (4) Decolar cooperated with OFAC by providing all relevant information regarding the apparent violations, and did so in a clear and organized fashion.
02/16/2014 03:54 PM
Cuba: U.S. Policy and Issues for the 113th Congress
Mark P. Sullivan - Specialist in Latin American Affairs January 29, 2014 Congressional Research Service Cuba remains a one-party communist state with a poor record on human rights. The country’s political succession in 2006 from the long-ruling Fidel Castro to his brother Raúl was characterized by a remarkable degree of stability. In February 2013, Castro was reappointed to a second five-year term as president (until 2018, when he would be 86 years old), and selected 52- year old former Education Minister Miguel Díaz-Canel as his First Vice President, making him the official successor in the event that Castro cannot serve out his term. Raúl Castro has implemented a number of gradual economic policy changes over the past several years, including an expansion of self-employment. A party congress held in April 2011 laid out numerous economic goals that, if implemented, could significantly alter Cuba’s state-dominated economic model. Few observers, however, expect the government to ease its tight control over the political system. While the government reduced the number of political prisoners in 2010-2011, the number increased in 2012; moreover, short-term detentions and harassment have increased significantly. U.S. Policy Over the years, Congress has played an active role in shaping policy toward Cuba, including the enactment of legislation strengthening and at times easing various U.S. economic sanctions. While U.S. policy has consisted largely of isolating Cuba through economic sanctions, a second policy component has consisted of support measures for the Cuban people, including U.S. government-sponsored broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí) and support for human rights and democracy projects. The Obama Administration has continued this similar dual-track approach. While the Administration has lifted all restrictions on family travel and remittances, eased restrictions on other types of purposeful travel, and moved to reengage Cuba on several bilateral issues, it has also maintained most U.S. economic sanctions in place. On human rights, the Administration welcomed the release of many political prisoners in 2010 and 2011, but it has also criticized Cuba’s continued harsh repression of political dissidents through thousands of shortterm detentions and targeted violence. The Administration has continued to call for the release of U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross, detained in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison in March 2011. Legislative Activity Strong interest in Cuba is continuing in the 113th Congress with attention focused on economic and political developments, especially the human rights situation, and U.S. policy toward the island nation, including sanctions. The continued imprisonment of Alan Gross remains a key concern for many Members. In March 2013, Congress completed action on full-year FY2013 appropriations with the approval of H.R. 933 (P.L. 113-6), which continues to provide funding for Cuba democracy and human rights projects and Cuba broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí). In July 2013, the Appropriations Committees reported out their versions of the FY2014 State Department, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations measure. The House version, H.R. 2855 (H.Rept. 113-185), would have provided that $20 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF) ($5 million more than the Administration’s request) be transferred to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) “to promote democracy and strengthen civil society in Cuba.” The Senate version, S. 1372 (S.Rept. 113-81), would have provided that ESF appropriated for Cuba only be made available “for humanitarian assistance and to support the Cuba: U.S. Policy and Issues for the 113th Congress Congressional Research Service development of private business.” Ultimately in the FY2014 omnibus appropriations measure, H.R. 3547 (P.L. 113-76) approved in January 2014, Congress provided up to $17.5 million in ESF for programs and activities in Cuba and stipulated that no ESF appropriated under the Act may be obligated by the U.S. Agency for International Development for any new programs or activities in Cuba. The joint explanatory statement to the bill stated that of the $17.5 million, not less than $7.5 million shall be provided directly to NED, and not more than $10 million shall be administered by the State Department. With regard to funding for Cuba broadcasting in FY2014, H.R. 2855 would have provided $28.266 million while S. 1372 would have provided $23.804 million, the same amount as the Administration’s request. In the end, the FY2014 omnibus measure, P.L. 113-76, provided $27.043 million. With regard to Cuba sanctions, both the House and Senate versions of the FY2014 Financial Services and General Government appropriations measure, H.R. 2786 and S. 1371, had different provisions that would have tightened and eased travel restrictions respectively, but none of these provisions were included in the FY2014 omnibus appropriations measure (P.L. 113-76). H.R. 2786 (H.Rept. 113-172) would have prohibited FY2014 funding used “to approve, license, facilitate, authorize, or otherwise allow” people-to-people travel to Cuba, which the Obama Administration authorized in 2011. In contrast, S. 1371 (S.Rept. 113-80) would have expanded the current general license for professional research and meetings in Cuba to allow U.S. groups to sponsor and organize conferences in Cuba, but only if specifically related to disaster prevention, emergency preparedness, and natural resource protection. Several other initiatives on Cuba have been introduced in the 113th Congress. Several would lift or ease U.S. economic sanctions on Cuba: H.R. 214 and H.R. 872 (overall embargo); H.R. 871 (travel); and H.R. 873 (travel and agricultural exports). H.R. 215 would allow Cubans to play organized professional baseball in the United States. H.R. 1917 would lift the embargo and extend nondiscriminatory trade treatment to the products of Cuba after Cuba releases Alan Gross from prison. Identical initiatives, H.R. 778/S. 647 would modify a 1998 trademark sanction; in contrast, H.R. 214, H.R. 872, H.R. 873, and H.R. 1917 each have a provision that would repeal the sanction. H.Res. 121 would honor the work of Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez. H.Res. 262 would call for the immediate extradition or rendering of all U.S. fugitives from justices in Cuba. Table of Contents Recent Developments 1 Introduction 2 Cuba’s Political and Economic Situation 4 Brief Historical Background 4 Political Conditions 5 Human Rights Conditions 7 Economic Conditions and Reform Efforts 12 Cuba’s Foreign Relations 16 North Korean Ship Incident 19 U.S. Policy toward 22 Background on U.S.-Cuban Relations 22 Clinton Administration’s Easing of Sanctions 23 Bush Administration’s Tightening of Sanctions 23 Obama Administration Policy 24 Debate on the Direction of U.S. Policy 27 Issues in U.S.-Cuban Relations 28 U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances 28 U.S. Agricultural Exports and Sanctions 31 Trademark Sanction 33 U.S. Funding to Support Democracy and Human Rights 35 Oversight of U.S. Democracy Assistance to Cuba 39 Imprisonment of USAID Subcontractor since December 2009 40 Radio and TV Marti 42 Funding for Cuba Broadcasting 43 Oversight of Radio and TV Martí 44 Terrorism Issues 46 Migration Issues 49 Cuba Alters Its Policy Regarding Exit Permits 52 Anti-Drug Cooperation 53 Cuba’s Offshore Oil Development . 54 Cuban Spies 58 Cuban Five 59 Legislative Initiatives in the 113th Congress 60 Enacted Measures 60 Additional Measures 61 READ THE REST OF THE REPORT HERE

 

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