Tuesday, October 8, 2013

OFAC (This Year in Cuba)

This is a direct link to the Cuba Sanctions Page at the U.S. Treasury Department.

Cuba Sanctions fall under the control of the Office of Foreign Asset Control.  OFAC is a sub-unit of the Office of Terrorism and Intelligence Analysis, which falls within this organizational structure.

OFAC enforces at least seven other Sanction Programs, including against against Iran and Iraq, terrorism, narcotics, and others.

The Cuba Sanctions are the particular focus of this posting.

What are the sanctions?

Well, apparently, there are enough of them and enough to say about them to fill a book.

It isn't a big book, only 21 pages, but dense and written in legalese that make it difficult to discern what may or may not be done by a traveler.  Because it is dense, and because it imposes requirements on an American citizen that don't exist for any other country, as far as I know.  With my U.S. Passport, I'm able to book a flight to any county in the world -- except Cuba.  To get to Cuba, I have to fill out a five page form to obtain a License that might or might not be approved.  The license restricts me from doing certain things that I might want to do.  It requires that I do things that I might not want to do, such as travel with a defined group or stay in an approved place.

Mind you, these aren't restrictions or licenses required by the Cuban government, they are required by MY government, and they aren't imposed on me for travel to any other country, and they aren't imposed on citizens of any other country but the United States.  Land of the Free?  Pah!

Here's an overview:

The Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR Part 515 (the “Regulations”), were issued by the U.S. Government on July 8, 1963, under the Trading With the Enemy Act in response to certain hostile actions by the Cuban Government. They apply to all persons (individuals and entities) subject to U.S. jurisdiction – including all U.S. citizens and permanent residents wherever located, all persons in the United States, and all branches and subsidiaries of U.S. organizations throughout the world – as well as all persons engaging in transactions that involve property in or otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The Regulations are administered by Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). Criminal penalties violating the Regulations range up to 10 years in prison, $1,000,000 in corporate fines, and $250,000 in individual fines. Civil penalties up to $65,000 per violation may also be imposed. The Regulations require those dealing with Cuba (including traveling to Cuba) to maintain records for five years and, upon request from OFAC, to furnish information regarding such dealings.

General and specific licenses are available to engage in certain transactions that are otherwise prohibited by the Regulations. A “general license” authorizes a particular type of transaction without the need for an application to, or further permission from, OFAC. A “specific license” authorizes specific transactions, and is issued to a specific person or persons, usually in response to an application. Types of specific licenses that OFAC frequently issues are set forth in the Regulations as statements of licensing policy. 

We'll delve into this more as time goes on.

Meanwhile, "This Year in Cuba" will be our watchword here at 90MilesToKeyWest.

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