CONTRA EL PINGALISMO CASTRISTA/ "Se que no existe el consuelo que no existe la anhelada tierrra de mis suenos ni la desgarrada vision de nuestros heroes. Pero te seguimos buscando, patria,..." - Reinaldo Arenas

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Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Embargo. Mostrar todas las entradas

jueves, noviembre 27, 2014

Is Obama contemplating unilateral action on Cuba?

Is President Obama about to take unilateral steps to ease US relations with Cuba?
A number of recent developments – from Mr. Obama’s recourse to executive action on immigration to the Spanish foreign minister’s enigmatic statement that he would be carrying “very concrete messages” from the US government when he visits Havana this week – have some Republicans fretting that the White House aims to move even further from decades-old policy of isolating communist Cuba.
Obama last took action on Cuba in 2011, when he eased travel restrictions on Americans visiting the island. But a year ago in Florida, he raised eyebrows – and the hopes of supporters about a new US direction with Cuba – when he spoke of wanting “to continue to update our policies.”
It makes no sense, the president said, to continue with policies from 1961 “in the age of the Internet and Google and world travel.”
Some advocates of liberalized relations with Cuba are pressing the administration for concrete steps before April. That’s when Obama is slated to take part in the Summit of the Americas in Panama, which is expected to be the first such hemispheric gathering to include Cuba.
In the past, the United States has vetoed Cuba’s participation on the grounds that the gathering is limited to the hemisphere’s democracies, but a number of countries have said they would not attend next year’s summit if Cuba were once again barred.
But supporters of the status quo on relations with Cuba counter that if the US has stuck with policies from the 1960s – notably an embargo – it’s because the Castro regime that came to power in that era continues today to deny the Cuban people the democratic governance and human rights that most of the rest of the Western Hemisphere enjoys.
Last week Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio used a confirmation hearing for Antony Blinken, Obama’s deputy national security adviser and his choice to become deputy secretary of State, to grill Mr. Blinken about “chatter” in Washington that Obama intends to make “unilateral change” on US-Cuba policy.
Ending the embargo would require congressional action, but there are other steps the president could take to redirect US policy on Cuba.
After several attempts to get Blinken to rule out executive action on Cuba, Senator Rubio said, “The thing that concerns me is that I haven’t heard you say point-blank that, absent democratic openings, we’re not going to see actions on the part of this administration to weaken the current embargo and sanctions on Cuba.”
In response, Blinken said Obama has ideas on how to “help Cuba move in a democratic direction,” and he added, “If [Obama] has an opportunity, I’m sure that’s something he would want to pursue.” But he emphasized that “it depends on Cuba and the actions that they take.”
One action the administration is looking for is the release of US aid worker Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for bringing satellite phones and computer equipment into Cuba without a permit. Mr. Gross was handed a 15-year sentence in 2011 after being found guilty of “acts against the state” for his role in US efforts to set up a communications network in Cuba free of government control.
Speculation has swirled in Washington over the past week that the Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, could be delivering to officials in Havana this week a list of actions the US could take if the impediment of Gross’s incarceration were out of the way.  
On Monday at the State Department, spokesman Jeff Rathke was asked at the daily press briefing what Mr. García-Margallo was referring to when he spoke of having “very concrete messages” from the US government to take to Cuban officials.
“I have nothing to confirm about that,” Mr. Rathke responded.

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miércoles, noviembre 19, 2014

Top Obama aide won’t rule out unilateral easing of Cuba policy

President Barack Obama’s pick for the No. 2 job in the State Department repeatedly refused on Wednesday to rule out unilateral action by the White House to ease U.S. pressure on Cuba.
But the official, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, emphasized that the government in Havana would first have to make progress on democratic reforms and free imprisoned U.S. aid worker Alan Gross. The comments came during Blinken's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“Do you anticipate, during the rest of the president’s term, that there will be any unilateral change” to sanctions on Cuba absent democratic reforms, asked Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, whose parents emigrated from Cuba to the U.S.
“Anything that might be done on Cuba will have to be consistent with the law,” Blinken replied. He added, “Anything that in the future might be done on Cuba would be done in full consultation” with Congress.
Rubio tried again, noting “chatter” that Obama could try to change relations with Cuba unilaterally before leaving the White House in January 2017.
“The president has views on how to try to move, help move Cuba in a democratic direction, to help support people moving in that direction, and, you know, if he has an opportunity I’m sure that’s something he would want to pursue,” Blinken said. “But it depends on Cuba and the actions that they take.”
And recently Cuba’s government has taken “actions in exactly the wrong direction,” he added, noting that Havana was “unjustly imprisoning” Gross.
Rubio came back for a third try: “The thing that concerns me is that I haven’t heard you say point blank that, absent democratic openings, we’re not going to see actions on the part of this administration to weaken the current embargo and sanctions against Cuba.”
Again Blinken deflected the question, though he agreed Cuba would need to take steps before there could be changes. “At least in my judgment, unless Cuba is able to demonstrate that it is taking meaningful steps to move forward, I don’t see how you move forward in the relationship,” Blinken said.
Advocates of changing Washington’s policy toward Cuba cheered when Obama declared at a November 2013 fundraiser in Florida that the United States had to be “creative” and “thoughtful” about fostering change on the island, “and we have to continue to update our policies.”
“The notion that the same policies that we put in place in 1961 would somehow still be as effective as they are today, in the age of the Internet and Google and world travel, doesn't make sense,” Obama said at the time.
But Obama’s last notable unilateral move on Cuba came in January 2011, when he eased restrictions on travel to and from the island. And top administration officials say nothing will happen while Cuba continues to hold Gross, who was sentenced in 2011 to 15 years in prison in connection with an effort to create a communications network outside government control.
Obama’s options for unilateral action are relatively limited. Lifting the embargo of more than five decades imposed after Fidel Castro’s revolution and subsequent turn toward the Soviet Union requires congressional action. But advisers have suggested much more modest steps, like increasing cultural exchanges, further easing travel or dropping Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. In foreign policy circles, speculation has run rampant that Obama is looking at steps he could take in his final two years in office to overhaul U.S.-Cuba relations.
In the hearing, Blinken also indicated that the White House could live with Congress attaching a time limit and restrictions on mass deployment of ground forces to legislation formally approving Obama’s military operations against the so-called Islamic State. Obama has said he wants lawmakers to approve an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) but has not explicitly specified what kinds of restrictions he would accept.
The committee chairman, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who has criticized the administration for not seeking congressional authorization sooner, said an AUMF should be limited to those “fighting for, or on behalf of” the Islamic State, “should be limited to three years or some other reasonable time frame; [and] should foreclose the possibility of a large-scale, enduring ground combat mission that we saw in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.”
Asked whether Obama could accept those limits, Blinken replied that “those would seem to me to form a good basis for a conversation on developing a new AUMF.”
Blinken also played down hopes that the United States and its partners would reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran by a mutually agreed Nov. 24 deadline.
“It's going to be difficult to get to where we want to go. It's not impossible,” he said. “But it is literally a minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour thing. I was getting emails before coming here. As we speak, I can't tell you what to expect.”
Blinken further suggested that Obama might drop his objections to arming Ukraine’s government in the face of Russia’s incursion and support for rebels in the country’s eastern areas.
“The question of defensive lethal assistance has never been off the table. It remains on the table. It's something that we're looking at, and, indeed, the vice president will be in Ukraine in the next few days, and I'm sure that will be a topic of discussion,” he said.
At times, Blinken became a target for Senate frustration with the Obama administration.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Md.) declared that the White House had made a “mistake” by not sending Congress specific AUMF language.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) scolded Blinken for saying the White House had “engaged, as you know, with you” on the AUMF.
Corker cut him off: “You have not engaged with me. That is totally untrue.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was even blunter. After Blinken described the administration as working with Congress, the former presidential candidate shot back: “You have not worked with me on anything.”

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sábado, noviembre 15, 2014

Corporación estadounidense acuerda pagar multa por violar el embargo a Cuba

La empresa ESCO Corporation (ESCO) de Portland, estado de Oregon, aceptó pagar $2.057.540 para llegar a un arreglo y evitar una sanción civil por aparentes violaciones de las Regulaciones de Control de Activos Cubanos, informa en un comunicado el Departamento del Tesoro de Estados Unidos.
Una subsidiaria de ESCO habría violado dos de esas regulaciones cuando compró briquetas de níquel hechas con ─o derivadas de─ mineral proveniente de los yacimientos de Cuba, entre el 7 de noviembre de 2007 y el 11 de junio del 2011.
La Oficina de Control de Activos Extranjeros de la Tesorería, OFAC, determinó que ESCO reveló voluntariamente las aparentes violaciones, y que estas no constituyen una infracción grave. El valor total de las transacciones se calcula en $6.188.149 y la penalidad inicial fue de $3.048.208.
Para llegar al acuerdo, la OFAC valoró entre los agravantes que ESCO ignoró las sanciones a Cuba al no identificar que las briquetas estaban hechas con níquel cubano, y que la empresa causó daños al programa de sanciones a Cuba al comerciar con un gran volumen de productos hechos con níquel de Cuba. 
Entre los factores que atenuaron la sanción, la empresa no recibió ninguna penalidad o notificación de violaciones de la OFAC en los cinco años anteriores a la primera transacción que dio lugar a la aparente violación. Además, cooperó con la investigación de la Tesorería, emprendiendo una minuciosa pesquisa interna, y reforzó su programa de acatamiento de las regulaciones.

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martes, noviembre 11, 2014

Cuba-EEUU: La hoja de ruta del levantamiento del embargo del neocastrismo sucesor

dado lo avanzado de la maduracion para una accion unilateral de la administracion democrata de obama en el tema del descongelamiento de las relaciones cuba-estados unidos particularmente en materia del embargo comercial, cubadebate expone mediante la firma de un abogado  norteamericano lobbista por el levantamiento del embargo y por consiguiente declarado colaborador y agente de influencias Robert Muse*, el cual se desempena bajo fachada de experto en relaciones legales entre cuba y estados unidos, la "interpretacion" del regimen de la habana del proceso. como no comparto el optimismo reinante del exilio miamense luego del triunfo republicano en las midterm elections, espero cualquier "trastada" obamista en los dos anos que permanecera en el salon oval respecto al tema cuba. 
como es costumbre, el regimen boca en boca de otro lo que quiere decir no solo para demostrar la "opinion publica internacional", sino ante todo para reservarse la ultima palabra que sea preciso modificar o anadir a lo expuesto por el leguleyo.
el articulo puede ser consultado integramente en cubadebate
se articula tomando partido por los intereses de la habana de la siguiente manera:
  1. Normalizacion: Como hacerlo [a]
  2. Poner fin a las medidas punitivas aplicadas a Cuba
  3. Normalizacion de las relaciones
  4. Dirigirse hacia la completa normalizacion de las relaciones
  5. Conclusion
 llamo la atencion a los miembros del congreso y el senado cubano-americanos, cubanologos, kubichelogos, disidentes, opositores y demas interesados, pues estamos en presencia del borrador de la hoja de ruta del neocastrismo sucesor.
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*de acuerdo con la resena de Peter Sanchez, Robert L. Muse is a Washington, D.C., lawyer with experience in U.S. laws relating  to Cuba. He provides legal counsel to a number of U.S. not-for-profits operating in Cuba,  including the Environmental Defense Fund, the New York Botanical Garden, the Social  Science Research Council, and the Council of the Americas, as well as to the Association of Latin American Studies and universities seeking to establish academic programs in Cuba. He has testified on legal issues involving Cuba before the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. Senate, the Trade Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and many other governmental entities in the U.S. and Europe. Mr. Muse has delivered papers on the Helms-Burton Act and other U.S. laws pertaining to Cuba at symposiums sponsored by organizations including the National Policy Association, The Economist, the Brookings Institution, and other foundations worldwide.

un ejemplo del tipo de actividades que realiza el sr. muse lo encontramos  aqui >>

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martes, octubre 28, 2014

Debate: Cuba y EE.UU. se tiran besitos

AmericaTeVeCanal41


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lunes, octubre 27, 2014

Obama Could Lift Sanctions Against Cuba After Next Week’s Election, Says Congressman

By Michael E. Miller, Miami New Times
President Obama and Raul Castro
President Obama and Raul Castro
The Cuban expression "mañana, mañana." is often interpreted by Anglos as an excuse for laziness. In fact, the saying speaks volumes about its island of origin. In a country that has been led by one Castro or another for more than half a century, what hope can there be that tomorrow will be any different from today?
Earlier this month, that question brought several dozen experts, academics, and journalists to Columbia Journalism School in Manhattan. Optimism was evident in the conference's title -- Covering Cuba in an Era of Change -- as well as in the presentations, which included strong hints that the embargo's days are numbered.
Gregory Craig, former White House counsel under Barack Obama, said the president already has the legal power to lift most of the sanctions that have crippled Cuba since the fall of the Soviet Union. Although Congress probably would refuse to officially overturn the embargo, Obama could -- and should -- instantly normalize diplomatic relations and allow Americans to travel to the island, Craig said.
Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern outlined a six-month window in which Obama is most likely to make a move, beginning after next week's midterm elections and concluding with the Summit of the Americas in late April.
If Obama and Raúl Castro both attend as predicted, it will be the first official meeting between two countries' leaders since Raúl and Fidel swept down from the Sierra Maestra.
"We are reassured [by the White House] that people are working on it," McGovern said of a U.S.-Cuba policy change. "The stars seem to be aligned."
Many roadblocks remain, however. McGovern warned that any rapprochement would require dealing with both Alan Gross -- the USAID contractor imprisoned in Cuba since 2011 for distributing satellite phones without a permit -- and the three surviving members of the "Cuban Five," the Castro agents who spied on Miami's exile community.
Easing the embargo would also cost Obama politically. "I think part of the reluctance is that [the administration] will get some pushback from people who are in pretty serious positions," McGovern said, including Miami's hard-line Cubans.
Perhaps the most concrete evidence that things are already changing on the island was the presence of three Cuban journalists at the conference. Miriam Celaya, Elaine Díaz, and Orlando Luís Pardo Lazo have all been allowed to leave under recently relaxed travel restrictions. Celaya is scheduled to return to Havana this week, while Díaz and Pardo are on yearlong academic fellowships.
But Celaya and Pardo hardly painted a promising picture of their homeland. Celaya said she had been blocked from entering the library because of her journalism. Other reporters had been beaten and imprisoned, Pardo said. Both described having to share articles via paquetes, or troves of documents on flash drives. And Pardo said Cuba's infamous state security apparatus remained intact despite the growth of internet on the island.
"Our own [Edward] Snowden would not survive, would not escape," he warned. "Our own Snowden would be shot on the spot."
Ultimately, despite the talk of Obama ending the embargo and ushering in change in Cuba, Pardo feared that the solution was still, as it has been for 50 years, "biological."
In other words: when the Castros kick the bucket.

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miércoles, octubre 22, 2014

Implications of Ending the Cuban Embargo

By Dr. Jaime Suchlicki of The University of Miami:

Implications of Ending the Cuban Embargo

If the U.S. were to end the embargo and lift the travel ban without major reforms in Cuba, there would be significant implications:

- Money from American tourists would flow into businesses owned by the Castro government thus strengthening state enterprises. The tourist industry is controlled by the military and General Raul Castro.

- Tourist dollars would be spent on products, i.e., rum, tobacco, etc., produced by state enterprises, and tourists would stay in hotels owned partially or wholly by the Cuban government. The principal airline shuffling tourists around the island, Gaviota, is owned and operated by the Cuban military.

- American tourists will have limited contact with Cubans. Most Cuban resorts are built in isolated areas, are off limits to the average Cuban, and are controlled by Cuba’s efficient security apparatus. Most Americans don’t speak Spanish, have but limited contact with ordinary Cubans, and are not interested in visiting the island to subvert its regime. Law 88 enacted in 1999 prohibits Cubans from receiving publications from tourists. Penalties include jail terms.

- While providing the Castro government with much needed dollars, the economic impact of tourism on the Cuban population would be limited. Dollars will trickle down to the Cuban poor in only small quantities, while state and foreign enterprises will benefit most.

- The assumption that the Cuban leadership would allow U.S. tourists or businesses to subvert the revolution and influence internal developments is at best naïve. As we have seen in other circumstances, U.S. travelers to Cuba could be subject to harassment and imprisonment.

- Over the past decades hundred of thousands of Canadian, European and Latin American tourists have visited the island. Cuba is not more democratic today. If anything, Cuba is more totalitarian, with the state and its control apparatus having been strengthened as a result of the influx of tourist dollars.

- As occurred in the mid-1990s, an infusion of American tourist dollars will provide the regime with a further disincentive to adopt deeper economic reforms. Cuba’s limited economic reforms were enacted in the early 1990s, when the island’s economic contraction was at its worst. Once the economy began to stabilize by 1996 as a result of foreign tourism and investments, and exile remittances, the earlier reforms were halted or rescinded by Castro.

- Lifting the embargo and the travel ban without major concessions from Cuba would send the wrong message “to the enemies of the United States”: that a foreign leader can seize U.S. properties without compensation; allow the use of his territory for the introduction of nuclear missiles aimed at the United States; espouse terrorism and anti-U.S. causes throughout the world; and eventually the United States will “forget and forgive,” and reward him with tourism, investments and economic aid.

- Since the Ford/Carter era, U.S. policy toward Latin America has emphasized democracy, human rights and constitutional government. Under President Reagan the U.S. intervened in Grenada, under President Bush, Sr. the U.S. intervened in Panama and under President Clinton the U.S. landed marines in Haiti, all to restore democracy to those countries. The U.S. has prevented military coups in the region and supported the will of the people in free elections. U.S. policy has not been uniformly applied throughout the world, yet it is U.S. policy in the region. Cuba is part of Latin America. While no one is advocating military intervention, normalization of relations with a military dictatorship in Cuba will send the wrong message to the rest of the continent.

- Once American tourists begin to visit Cuba, Castro would probably restrict travel by Cuban-Americans. For the Castro regime, Cuban-Americans represent a far more subversive group because of their ability to speak to friends and relatives on the island, and to influence their views on the Castro regime and on the United States. Indeed, the return of Cuban exiles in 1979-80 precipitated the mass exodus of Cubans from Mariel in 1980.

- A large influx of American tourists into Cuba would have a dislocating effect on the economies of smaller Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and even Florida, highly dependent on tourism for their well-being. Careful planning must take place, lest we create significant hardships and social problems in these countries.

If the embargo is lifted, limited trade with, and investments in Cuba would develop. Yet there are significant implications.

Trade

- All trade with Cuba is done with state owned businesses. Since Cuba has very little credit and is a major debtor nation, the U.S. and its businesses would have to provide credits to Cuban enterprises. There is a long history of Cuba defaulting on loans.

- Cuba is not likely to buy a substantial amount of products in the U.S. In the past few years, Cuba purchased several hundred million dollars of food in the U.S. That amount is now down to $170 million per year. Cuba can buy in any other country and it is not likely to abandon its relationship with China, Russia, Venezuela, and Iran to become a major trading partner of the U.S.

- Cuba has very little to sell in the U.S. Nickel, one of Cuba's major exports, is controlled by the Canadians and exported primarily to Canada. Cuba has decimated its sugar industry and there is no appetite in the U.S. for more sugar. Cigars and rum are important Cuban exports. Yet, cigar production is mostly committed to the European market. Cuban rum could become an important export, competing with Puerto Rican and other Caribbean rums.

Investments

- In Cuba, foreign investors cannot partner with private Cuban citizens. They can only invest in the island through minority joint ventures with the government and its state enterprises.

- The dominant enterprise in the Cuban economy is the Grupo GAESA, controlled by the Cuban military. Most investments are done through or with GAESA. Therefore, American companies willing to invest in Cuba will have to partner mostly with the Cuban military.

- Cuba ranks 176 out of 177 countries in the world in terms of economic freedom. Outshined only by North Korea. It ranks as one of the most unattractive investments next to Iran, Zimbabwe, Libya, Mali, etc.

- Foreign investors cannot hire, fire, or pay workers directly. They must go through the Cuban government employment agency which selects the workers. Investors pay the government in dollars or euros and the government pays the workers a meager 10% in Cuban pesos.

- Corruption is pervasive, undermining equity and respect for the rule of law.

- Cuba does not have an independent/transparent legal system. All judges are appointed by the State and all lawyers are licensed by the State. In the last few years, European investors have had over $1 billion arbitrarily frozen by the government and several investments have been confiscated. Cuba's Law 77 allows the State to expropriate foreign-invested assets for reason of "public utility" or "social interest." In the last year, the CEOs of three companies with extensive dealings with the Cuban government were arrested without charges.

Conclusions

- If the travel ban is lifted unilaterally now or the embargo is ended by the U.S., what will the U.S. government have to negotiate with a future regime in Cuba and to encourage changes in the island? These policies could be an important bargaining chip with a future regime willing to provide concessions in the area of political and economic freedoms.

- The travel ban and the embargo should be lifted as a result of negotiations between the U.S. and a Cuban government willing to provide meaningful and irreversible political and economic concessions or when there is a democratic government in place in the island.

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domingo, octubre 12, 2014

The Castros Are Responsible for Cuba's Failures, Not the U.S. - NYTimes.com

Jorge Benitez is the director of NATOSource and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council
Let's avoid all the rhetoric about Cuba and focus on the facts. The first relevant fact is that Cuba trades with 99 percent of the world. Thus, the poor health of the Cuban economy is due to the disastrous policies of the Castro government and not because it is deprived of trade.
This is not the fault of the United States, because we have the right to prefer to trade with other countries that do not oppress their people. The poverty in Cuba is also not the fault of the Cuban people because the Castro regime has robbed them of the power to make economic decisions.
The government keeps most of the foreign money and hands out only pennies to the Cuban people. Lifting U.S. sanctions would only add our dollars to this corrupt trade.
It is the Castro regime that is totally responsible for the misery in Cuba. The most overlooked fact in this debate is that every euro, ruble, peso or Canadian dollar invested in Cuba goes directly to Castro and his cronies. Foreign businesses are not allowed to pay wages to their Cuban employees. Instead, they are required to turn the money over to the state. The Castro government keeps most of the foreign money and hands out only pennies to the Cuban people. Lifting U.S. sanctions would only add our dollars to this corrupt trade.
Another relevant fact is that since John F. Kennedy imposed sanctions on the dictator in Havana in 1962, every U.S. president and every Congress, as well as the majority of the American public have supported sanctions against the Castro government. Therefore, critics of the sanctions need to stop their racist campaign of blaming a small ethnic group for controlling U.S. policy on this issue.
The time to end U.S. sanctions is after Cuba has a democratically elected government that allows fair trade. Until then, changing U.S. policy to subsidize the Castro regime’s exploitation of 11 million Cubans will remain unpopular with the American people and against our national interests.

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martes, agosto 19, 2014

Nota de prensa de la Sección de Intereses de #Cuba en Washington

La Sección de Intereses de Cuba en Washington desea informar a los usuarios de su oficina Consular que, a pesar de los esfuerzos realizados, aún no ha sido posible encontrar un banco norteamericano o extranjero radicado en los Estados Unidos o en un tercer país, que asuma nuestras operaciones bancarias, debido a las regulaciones derivadas del bloqueo económico, comercial y financiero impuesto por el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos a Cuba y a la designación infundada de nuestro país como “Estado patrocinador del terrorismo internacional”.
La Sección de Intereses continúa trabajando para lograr una solución que permita normalizar las funciones de su Oficina Consular, lo cual se ha agravado en el contexto actual, a partir del recrudecimiento de la persecución financiera de los Estados Unidos contra Cuba, expresada, entre otras manifestaciones, en la imposición de multas multimillonarias a bancos extranjeros, en virtud de la aplicación extraterritorial de las leyes del bloqueo, en violación del Derecho Internacional.
Teniendo en cuenta lo anterior, como solución temporal, la Sección de Intereses ha decidido extender hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2014 los servicios de su Oficina Consular, que fueron anunciados el 15 de mayo de 2014, para renovar pasaportes y prorrogar su vigencia a aquellos ciudadanos cubanos residentes en los Estados Unidos que tengan reservaciones para viajar a Cuba. Los trámites antes mencionados deberán realizarse a través de las agencias de viaje que tienen vínculos de trabajo con la Oficina Consular, directamente en su sede en Washington DC.
La Sección de Intereses reitera que las solicitudes motivadas por razones humanitarias continuarán recibiendo un tratamiento expedito y que, de acuerdo con las normas migratorias vigentes en Cuba, los ciudadanos cubanos residentes en el exterior deben portar un pasaporte válido para ingresar al territorio nacional.
19 de agosto de 2014
Washington,D.C.

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miércoles, agosto 06, 2014

Empresa Cubana Del Tabaco (d/b/a Cubatabaco) v. General Cigar Co., Inc.

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (the Board) decision, holding that a Cuban cigar manufacturer’s standing to pursue cancellation of two federal registrations was not barred in light of a prior decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which held that the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) precluded the Cuban company from owning the marks at issue.  Empresa Cubana Del Tabaco (d/b/a Cubatabaco) v. General Cigar Co., Inc., Case No. 13-1465 (Fed. Cir., June 4, 2014) (Rader, J.).
The plaintiff, Cubatabaco, is a Cuban entity that owns the COHIBA mark in Cuba for use in connection with cigars.  The defendant, General Cigar, owns two trademark registrations for the mark COHIBA for use in connection with cigars.
In 1997, Cubatabaco filed an application to register the COHIBA mark in the United States for cigars and related goods, based on its registration of the same mark in Cuba.  Cubatabaco relied on Section 44(e) of the Lanham Act, which allows a foreign applicant to rely on a foreign registration to register the same mark in the United States if the applicant has a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) rejected Cubatabaco’s trademark application based on General Cigar’s registrations, so Cubatabaco filed a petition to cancel General Cigar’s trademark registrations for COHIBA.
Under the CACR, a Cuban entity is prohibited from a wide range of transactions in the United States.  However, the CACR contains certain exceptions for Cuban entities to engage in certain otherwise prohibited transactions pursuant to a general or a specific license.  Cubatabaco obtained a special license and sued General Cigar over its use of the COHIBA mark.
The district court cancelled the two trademark registrations owned by General Cigar but the 2d Circuit reversed the decision, stating that the court could not grant Cubatabaco injunctive relief because that remedy would entail a prohibited transfer of property under the CACR, since Cubatabaco would acquire ownership of the mark.
When the PTO cancellation proceeding resumed, the Board held that Cubatabaco lacked standing to challenge the trademark registrations of the same mark because Cubatabaco was deemed to have no property interest in the mark.  Cubatabaco appealed.
On appeal, the Federal Circuit found that neither the 2d Circuit decision nor the CACR prohibits Cubatabaco from registering the mark.  The Court also held that CACR authorizes Cubatabaco to seek cancellation of registrations that block its application:  “Because the USPTO refused Cubatabaco’s registration based on likelihood of confusion with General Cigar’s Registrations, Cubatabaco has a real interest in cancelling the Registrations and a reasonable belief that the Registrations blocking its application are causing it damage. Cubatabaco therefore has a cause of action under the Lanham Act to seek cancellation of the Registrations.”
Finally, the Federal Circuit found that neither issue preclusion nor claim preclusion barred any of the grounds on which Cubatabaco sought cancellation.  Claim preclusion did not apply because the 2d Circuit did not render a final judgment on the merits of the cancellation claims.  Issue preclusion did not apply because of various reasons depending on the specific grounds, e.g., the 2d Circuit did not address a particular ground or determination of the issue was not necessary to the judgment.

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miércoles, julio 30, 2014

Hillary propone reemplazar embargo a Cuba con comercio, visitas y el ejemplo de EE.UU.

Hillary Clinton , favorita para ocupar la candidatura demócrata a la presidencia de Estados Unidos en los comicios de 2016, dijo en entrevista con el periodista Jorge Ramos, de la cadena Univisión, que quisiera ver que Washington  se mueve hacia una normalización de las relaciones con Cuba.
La exsecretaria de Estado conversó en exclusiva con Univisión sobre el embargo comercial que EEUU impuso a la isla hace más de cinco décadas y que es cuestionado en su libro Hard Choices (Decisiones difíciles), publicado este año.
“En mi libro abogo por eso (levantar el embargo) porque creo que ha sido un fracaso y creo que ha apuntalado a los Castro, porque pueden culpar de todo al embargo”, dijo Clinton.
Indicó que en Cuba no hay libertad de expresión y todavía hay presos políticos, pero que todo eso se le atribuye al embargo.
Sobre los viajes de los estadounidenses a la isla, Clinton señala: “Quisiera ver que nos movemos hacia la normalización de las relaciones, eventualmente, y que por consiguiente más norteamericanos vengan y vayan, eso es algo que hizo el presidente Obama y que yo apoyé durante su primer mandato”.
“Nosotros tenemos nuestro propio prisionero político en Cuba, Alan Gross, un hombre que ha sido echado en la prisión y a quien no le han dado la oportunidad de regresar a su casa con su familia”, añadió, en referencia al subcontratista condenado a 15 años en 2009 por introducir equipos de internet satelital en la isla.
“Me gustaría ver que eso se resuelve y me gustaría ver que nos moviéramos hacia el levantamiento del embargo”, opinó, y abogó por intentar promover los cambios democráticos en Cuba “mediante nuestro ejemplo, mediante el comercio y todo tipo de visitas”.
A la pregunta de si visitaría Cuba, Hillary Clinton respondió entre carcajadas: “Sí, algún día me gustaría ir a Cuba, iría algún día”.
La entrevista completa de Jorge Ramos a Hillary Clinton será transmitida el próximo domingo a las 10:00 am hora de Cuba en el programa Al Punto de Univisión.

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jueves, julio 03, 2014

Cuba: More Banks Under Scrutiny for Sanctions Violations

From AFP:

After BNP, U.S. may hit other banks for sanctions-busting

After French giant BNP Paribas, other big European banks like Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank and UniCredit may be in the cross-hairs of U.S. authorities for sanctions-busting.

U.S. authorities on Monday slammed BNP, France‘s largest bank, with a record $8.9 billion in penalties for violating U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, Sudan and other countries and pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

The blow raised speculation that some of its rivals in Europe would be punished, but less severely.

The United States has focused its investigations on dollar operations of a handful of European banks with countries blacklisted by the U.S.: Iran, Sudan, Cuba, Syria and North Korea.

The probes, begun in 2009, are looking at the alleged transfer of billions of dollars to the accounts of blacklisted entities, which benefited from a U.S. legal loophole that closed in 2008.

The investigations are being led by several U.S. authorities: the Justice and Treasury departments, the Federal Reserve and New York state’s Department of Financial Services.

French bank Societe Generale recently opened an internal investigation and said it was holding talks with the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Treasury‘s agency that enforces U.S. economic sanctions.

French rival Credit Agricole is investigating dollar transactions, especially by Credit Agricole CIB, its corporate and investment banking arm.

Both banks say they are cooperating with U.S. authorities.

Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, is suspected of having business transactions with entities in Sudan, Iran and Syria, according to people close to the situation.

On Wednesday, the bank told AFP it was providing information requested by U.S. regulatory authorities.

“While we cannot with any degree of certainty predict the effect these matters will have on us, they have the potential to result in the imposition of significant financial penalties or have other adverse consequences for us,” Deutsche Bank spokesman Michael Golden said in an email.

Credit Suisse analysts have estimated the German bank is facing a $3.3 billion U.S. fine.

The second-largest German bank, Commerzbank, revealed in 2010 that its Iran-linked dollar transactions were under investigation by the United States.

It has not estimated the size of a potential penalty.

U.S. authorities also are investigating the German subsidiary of Italy‘s largest bank, UniCredit, for transactions with Iran. UniCredit has set aside more than a billion euros ($1.4 billion) for legal costs.

In addition, the U.S. has probes under way on manipulation of interbank interest rates, tax evasion and foreign-exchange market rigging.

British bank Barclays and Switzerland’s UBS and Credit Suisse have already been severely punished as part of U.S. efforts in these areas, and other decisions are in the pipeline.

The European banks‘ large provisions for U.S. investigations come as European regulators, including the European Central Bank, insist they maintain sufficient capital buffers to weather a financial crisis.

The banks are expected to set aside $39 billion in litigation costs this year after taking $37 billion so far, Credit Suisse analysts said in research note, adding the banks would still be able “to absorb other costs.”

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Another International Bank Pulls Out of Cuba

Kudos to the Obama Administration for its handling -- thus far -- of the BNP Paribas case, particularly the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Laws are meant to be enforced.

As such, we are already seeing banks step up compliance (at best) or streamline their duplicity (at worst).

Case and point -- from the Irish Independent:

BoI bans trade with Cuba after US ruling

The Irish Independent has seen correspondence from the lender written to long-standing customers with legitimate business interests in Cuba telling them it can no longer process international transactions to or from the Caribbean island.

The ban comes as French bank BNP Paribas was hit with a $9bn (€6.5bn) fine by the US amid allegations it violated US sanctions involving Cuba, Iran and Sudan.

Bank of Ireland has a tie-up with a leading bank in the US which handles all of Bank of Ireland's transactions under new European payment rules known as the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

The US lender is bound by US regulations which ban payments being made to Cuba, Iran and Sudan, Bank of Ireland said.

Bank of Ireland confirmed that it had written to affected customers who are doing business with Cuba explaining that it could not process payments on their behalf.

"Our correspondent bank for all SEPA transaction is a leading US bank who must comply with its own regulatory requirements and obligations and to avoid a possible exposure to regulatory sanctions and penalties," Bank of Ireland said in a statement.

"As a result of the decision by our correspondent bank, we are not in a position to process such transactions.

"This affects all international payments to or 
 from Cuba and also any related 
SEPA payments."

The US government has sanctions in place against a select number of countries including Cuba, Iran and Sudan. The EU has also had sanctions in place against Iran and Sudan but not Cuba.

The Department of Finance said the decision was a commercial one for Bank of Ireland and declined to comment further.

Bank of Ireland would not disclose the name its correspondent bank, but said it did not have one handling euro-area payments before the introduction of SEPA earlier this year.

It is not clear why a correspondent bank is now required for transactions under SEPA and a Bank of Ireland spokeswoman declined to comment further when 
asked if it had any plans to change 
this arrangement.

It also declined to say how many of its customers were affected.

French bank BNP Paribas this week pleaded guilty to two criminal charges and agreed to pay almost $9bn to resolve accusations it violated US sanctions against Sudan,

Cuba and Iran. In an unprecedented move, regulators banned BNP for a year from conducting certain US dollar transactions, a critical part of the bank's global business, in addition to the record-breaking fine.

In addition, the bank will need to prohibit all US dollar clearing as a correspondent bank for unaffiliated third-party banks in New York and London for two years.

The US has brought at least 22 cases against financial firms since 2009 for doing business or handling funds linked to sanctioned countries.

Penalties totalling $4.9bn have been levied against the 21 other banks since US President Barack Obama took office.

Most of those cases targeted overseas banks, with less than $90m in fines imposed on US firms.

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BNP Paribas Transacted $1.7 Billion With Cuban Regime

Yesterday, BNP Paribas S.A. (BNPP), a global financial institution headquartered in Paris, agreed to enter a guilty plea to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) by processing billions of dollars of transactions through the U.S. financial system on behalf of Sudanese, Iranian, and Cuban entities subject to U.S. economic sanctions.

BNPP will pay total financial penalties of $8.9736 billion, including forfeiture of $8.8336 billion and a fine of $140 million.

In Cuba, BNNP transacted over $1.7 billion with the Castro regime, including with a Specially Designated National (SDN) identified as "one of Cuba's largest state-owned commercial companies."

This company was surely owned and operated by the Cuban military.

According to the court documents filed by the U.S. Department of Justice:

"From at least 2000 up through and including 2010, BNPP, through its Paris headquarters, conspired with numerous Cuban banks and entities as well as financial institutions outside of Cuba to provide U.S. dollar financing to Cuban entities in violation of the U.S. embargo against Cuba. During the course of its illicit conduct, BNNP processed thousands of U.S. dollar denominated financial transactions with Sanctioned Entities located in Cuba, with a total value in excess of $1.747 billion, including transactions involving a Cuban SDN with a value in excess of $300 million."

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viernes, junio 27, 2014

Red Bull settles with U.S. on Cuba sanctions violations: Treasury

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday that energy drinks firm Red Bull North America settled a potential civil liability suit for alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Cuba.

The firm agreed to pay $89,775 for filming a documentary without authorization from the Treasury, the department said in a statement.

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jueves, junio 19, 2014

Medio uruguayo: 'Mujica dio a Raúl Castro un mensaje de Obama sobre el levantamiento del embargo'

El presidente uruguayo, José Mujica, transmitió el pasado fin de semana a Raúl Castro un mensaje del mandatario de EEUU, Barack Obama, en el que muestra su voluntad de dialogar para resolver, entre otras cuestiones, el embargo comercial a Cuba, informó este jueves un medio uruguayo.
Según una extensa nota que publica el semanario Búsqueda, reconocido por manejar fuentes muy próximas al gobierno, el mensaje de Obama fue transmitido por Mujica a Castro durante un encuentro que sostuvieron el 14 de junio en Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia), al margen de la Cumbre del Grupo de los 77 más China, reporta EFE.
El mensaje de Obama para el dictador cubano era la disposición del Gobierno de EEUU de llegar a "un acuerdo" con La Habana para, entre otras cosas, levantar el embargo comercial que desde hace 54 años su país impone a la Isla, dice el semanario.
Citando fuentes oficiales, Búsqueda relata que Castro "se mostró muy interesado por la propuesta" y el propio Mujica salió del encuentro "bastante optimista".
Según señalaron las mismas fuentes, Mujica encontró a Castro con una posición "favorable" a la distensión entre La Habana y Washington bajo la "condición" de que no haya "imposiciones" del Gobierno de Obama.
El pasado mes de mayo Mujica, un exguerrillero tupamaro de 79 años y uno de los líderes más destacados de la izquierda latinoamericana, realizó una visita oficial a EEUU, donde fue recibido con todos los honores por el presidente Obama y por importantes miembros de su gobierno.
Allí, Obama reconoció a Mujica como un hombre con "una extraordinaria credibilidad en asuntos de democracia y derechos humanos" y como "un líder en estos asuntos en todo el hemisferio".
Fue en dicha reunión, según Búsqueda, cuando Obama le dijo a Mujica que es el momento de llegar a un acuerdo con La Habana, ya que a él le quedan tan solo dos años de mandato antes de que haya un nuevo presidente en la Casa Blanca.
Hace un año, Mujica viajó también a La Habana, donde se reunió con Raúl y Fidel Castro y, además de tratar el proceso de paz en Colombia entre el Gobierno y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), habló con ellos de la posibilidad de un acercamiento con Washington.

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FIU's Cuba Poll: Manipulations, Omissions and Contradictions

FIU Professor Guillermo Grenier
When a poll is more concerned about meeting its sponsor's expectations, than about being thorough and scientific, then manipulations, omissions and contradictions abound.

That's exactly what has happened in the 2014 edition of FIU's Cuba poll, sponsored by the for-profit "progressive" lobbying firm, Trimpa Group, which works to lift the embargo towards Cuba.

In this morning's The Miami Herald, FIU Professor Guillermo Grenier, who led the poll, admitted to manipulating the numbers.

"Grenier acknowledged his numbers reflect only those respondents who said they favored or opposed the embargo and did not include 'don’t know/no answer' replies. Including those numbers in the tally would change the percentages to 45-41 (from the reported 52-48) against the embargo — short of a majority and with 12 percent replying 'don’t know/no answer.'"

That casts even further doubt on all of the poll's numbers.

Why would an academic institution do this? Such manipulations are highly questionable.

What you’re telling me is unusual. Really unique. Very, very extremely rare," David Hill, a nationally known pollster with Hill Research Consultants in Washington D.C., said about FIU’s method.

The Miami Herald had also first noted that:

"Although only 62 percent of all the Miami-Dade Cubans surveyed by FIU said they were U.S. citizens, 90 percent also reported that they were registered to vote."

Remember -- only U.S. citizens can vote.

Could FIU have been so sloppy?

We can't say for sure, as they purposely don't disclose all of their data.

But let's take a closer look.

Here is the tab for the question: Are you a U.S. Citizen?

Overall, 62% answered YES, while 32% answered NO.

According to the tab's breakdown, 14% of those not registered to vote were U.S. citizens, while 86% were not and 1% did not respond. For a total of 101%!

But then, they have a whole separate tab asking the question: Are you registered to vote?

Overall, 90% answered YES, while 10% answered NO.

Needless to say, those numbers don't mesh.

(It also shows how heavily FIU weighed the poll with non-U.S. citizens and non-voters.)

Similar contradictions are found policy-wise. Here's our favorite:

The poll asks, "do you think people living in the US should be allowed to invest in new non-governmental small businesses in Cuba?"

Overall, 60% said NO, while 40% said YES.

Yet, the poll claims these same Cuban-Americans support lifting the embargo by a 52-48% margin (or 45-41% margin).

In other words, Cuban-Americans purportedly support doing businesses with Castro's monopolies, but not with "cuentapropistas"?

Here's another one:

The poll asks, "the US Department of State [or US Government] includes Cuba on a list of four countries which the US government considers to be State Sponsors of Terrorism. This designation penalizes persons and organizations engaging in certain activities with Cuba and the other countries on the list. The other countries on the list are Iran, Sudan and Syria. Do you believe that Cuba should be kept on that list of penalized countries that support terrorism, or be taken off the list?"

Overall, 63% said YES, while 37% said NO.

Yet, the poll claims these same Cuban-Americans support lifting the embargo by a 52-48% margin (or 45-41% margin).

In other words, Cuban-Americans purportedly want to sanction the Castro regime for supporting terrorism, but do business with its monopolies?

That's rubbish.

This sloppy poll was designed for a sensationalist headline.

FIU should be ashamed of itself.

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miércoles, junio 18, 2014

Una encuesta descartable de FIU

Mauricio Claver-Carone
Durante más de dos décadas, la Universidad Internacional de la Florida (FIU, por sus siglas en inglés) ha realizado encuestas de actitudes cubano-americanas respecto a la política de Estados Unidos.
Y por más de dos décadas, estas encuestas poco detalladas nunca han llegado a traducirse en realidad política.
Entre otras causas porque las encuestas de FIU no son un verdadero ejercicio académico y sus resultados pueden predecirse por la naturaleza de sus patrocinadores.
Las anteriores encuestas de FIU sobre Cuba fueron patrocinadas por Brookings Institution, Cuba Study Group, la Fundación Christopher Reynolds y el mecenas internacional favorito de Mariela Castro, la Fundación Ford.
Todos estos grupos cabildean fuertemente a favor del levantamiento incondicional de las sanciones impuestas al régimen castrista.
La encuesta de este año, que fue publicada este martes, nos llega por cortesía del Grupo Trimpa y  la Open Society Foundation de Georges Soros.
Y es de todos conocidos quién es George Soros y cuáles son sus opiniones políticas.
Para aquellos no familiarizados con el Grupo Trimpa, se trata, según sus propias declaraciones, de una "consultoría progresista, una consejería para la inversión filantrópica y política, y una firma de relaciones del Gobierno".
Recientemente, el Grupo Trimpa fue contratado para dirigir la campaña de cabildeo de una ramificación de Cuba Study Group, llamada #CubaNow, que colocó anuncios en el metro de Washington, D.C. que abogaban por el levantamiento de las sanciones contra el régimen de Cuba.
En otras palabras, FIU ha pasado de tener encuestas patrocinadas por organizaciones ideológicas sin fines de lucro a tener encuestas patrocinadas por cabilderos ideológicos con fines de lucro.
Esto es, sin dudas, una mayor recaída. Así que será mejor llamar a las cosas por su nombre: esta no es una encuesta de FIU, sino una encuesta del Grupo Trimpa.
Y, por supuesto, dado el espíritu de las campañas de cabildeo del Grupo Trimpa, esta encuesta procura el apoyo cubanoamericano para el levantamiento del embargo por un margen de 52%-48%.
Además, procura el apoyo cubanoamericano a los viajes de estadounidenses a Cuba por un irrisorio margen de 69%-31%.
Ted Trimpa, presidente del grupo, es también líder del Tectonic Theatre Project, que está organizando un viaje "pueblo-pueblo" a Cuba, así que resultaba importante para su encuesta mostrar un fuerte apoyo a esa clase de despilfarro.
Compárense estos resultados con los del sondeo de la semana pasada, auspiciado por The Miami Herald —un observador más neutral— y llevado a cabo por los encuestadores democráticos Bendixen & Amandi, de ningún modo incondicionales de las sanciones a Cuba.
De acuerdo con la encuesta de The Miami Herald, los cubanosamericanos se oponen a levantar la totalidad del embargo por un margen de 56%-36%.
Mientras que se oponen al levantamiento de las restricciones de viaje por un margen de 51%-42%.
Las enormes diferencias entre la encuesta del Grupo Trimpa y la encuesta de The Miami Herald están muy lejos de los márgenes de error en estos casos.
Esas diferencias serían probablemente aún mayores si alguna de esas encuestas se hubiera ocupado de hacer consultas más detalladas, dirigidas  a los sucesos actuales en la Isla. Por ejemplo, el abrumador apoyo de las sanciones por parte de los activistas cubanos por la democracia, el incremento de las violaciones de derechos humanos, el encarcelamiento de un rehén estadounidense, el contrabando de armas con Corea del Norte, el refugio otorgado a terroristas y la subversión de la democracia en Venezuela. 
Hasta la encuesta de The Atlantic Council incluyó una consulta en relación con las violaciones de los derechos humanos por parte del régimen castrista. Y cuando se hizo referencia en esa encuesta a las circunstancias en que viven los cubanos, el presunto apoyo para normalizar las relaciones o relacionarse directamente con el régimen de Castro cayó dramáticamente, del 56% a nivel nacional y 63% en la Florida, hasta un 43%.
Visto todo lo anterior, si FIU desea conservar al menos una apariencia de integridad académica debería ser más escrupulosa a la hora de afrontar el contenido de sus encuestas y los patrocinadores que presionan a través de ellas.
Porque, tal y como ha aparecido, esta última encuesta de FIU resulta un mal chiste.

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Is Hillary Clinton Using the Cuban Embargo as Her "Excuse"?

In her new book "Hard Choices," former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argues that the Cuban embargo is “holding back our broader agenda across Latin America.”

What agenda is "broader" than freedom and democracy in the Western Hemisphere?

Are we to throw out the monumental accomplishment of the 2001 Inter-American Democratic Charter, signed by 34 out of 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere, which holds "representative democracy" as the backbone of hemispheric relations?

In the interests of some unclear "broader agenda," is the U.S. going to re-open the door to the dictatorships -- whether leftist or rightist -- that once ruled Latin America?

Is U.S. diplomacy not sophisticated, robust and muscular enough to overcome Raul Castro's cohorts (pictured below this weekend), which precisely want the U.S. to "fully integrate" Cuba's dictatorship in the inter-American system, so that they can fully unleash their own authoritarian ambitions?

(See more on this point here).

During a recent hearing of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, CHC Editor Mauricio Claver-Carone, ominously testified regarding Raul Castro and his wanna-be authoritarian cohorts:

"This trend is reversible -- but the leadership of the United States is vital. 

Undoubtedly, the democrats of Latin America need to step up to their own responsibilities, but in the cost-benefit analysis that all political leaders make, they need to be left with no doubt that the benefits of standing up for freedom and democracy in Cuba outweigh the costs. Whether we like it or not, only the United States can tip that balance. 

To be clear, the United States is not the cause of Latin America's problems. To the contrary, it represents the solution. U.S. leadership in the region should be public, unquestionable and unwavering, particularly as regards the shared values of freedom, democracy and security. 

Our democratic allies in the region should know and anticipate the benefits derived from embracing and promoting democratic practices. Likewise, autocrats should know and anticipate the consequences of undemocratic practices and illegal acts."

Undoubtedly, U.S. diplomats are up to this task. They are the best in the world.

If they didn't under Secretary Clinton's tenure, then the poor leadership falls upon her.

But it's unbecoming to instead use the Cuban embargo as her "excuse."




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lunes, junio 09, 2014

A Closer Look at Hillary Clinton's Cuba Revelation

In her new book, "Hard Choices," former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reveals how late in her term (2012) she advised President Obama to reconsider the Cuban embargo.

Of course, the whole premise is somewhat silly as only Congress can lift the embargo.  Moreover, Hillary knows this, as it was her husband who signed into law the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act ("LIBERTAD Act"), which codified the embargo.

However, what media reports have overlooked is that Hillary pressed President Obama pursuant to being lobbied by her old friends and supporters, Alfy Fanjul and Paul Cejas.

Fanjul and Cejas traveled to Cuba with the Brookings Institution in April 2012. During the trip, they purposefully shunned courageous democracy activists, so as to not offend their "hosts." However, they met with plenty of Castro regime officials.

As The Washington Post reported, "after returning from his first trip (April 2012), Fanjul met with his good friend, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to express his changing views on Cuba."

Those views obviously had nothing to do with the democracy activists Fanjul and Cejas ignored, but plenty to do with the business they discussed with Castro regime officials -- positioning themselves like "Cuban-American Barbarians at the Gate."

Thus, Hillary's efforts to sway President Obama late in her term, on behalf of Fanjul and Cejas (and against the wishes of Cuba's courageous democracy leaders), should not have come as a surprise. 

Moreover, let's not forget her husband's record, as relates to Cuba policy.

Here's a look back:

In 1993, President Clinton intervened at the last minute to impede federal prosecutors from indicting General Raul Castro as head of a major cocaine smuggling conspiracy.

In 1994, President Clinton succumbed to Castro's migratory blackmail and green-lighted secret talks with senior regime officials in Toronto, Canada.

In 1995, President Clinton adopted the infamous "wet-foot, dry-foot policy," whereby preventing Cubans from reaching a U.S. beach became a perverted sport. (Why was it acceptable for President Clinton to label Cubans as "wet-feet"? Shouldn't it be just as insulting as calling Mexicans "wet-backs"?)

In 1996, President Clinton refused to tighten sanctions against the Castro regime. As a consequence for the murder of three Americans and a permanent resident in international airspace -- the shoot-down of the "Brothers to the Rescue" planes by Cuban MIGs -- Clinton was compelled to sign the LIBERTAD Act as the least aggressive of the responses he was presented. Nonetheless, he waived the main section tightening sanctions. As such, the LIBERTAD Act codified the embargo and authorized funding for democracy programs, but did not tighten sanctions.

In 1998-1999, President Clinton eased travel sanctions towards Cuba and created the insulting "people-to-people" travel category, whereby NGOs hosted by the Castro regime lead salsa, baseball and cigar tours of the island, while frequenting the Cuban military's 4 and 5-star tourism facilities.

In 2000, Clinton contemplated lifting tourism travel restrictions towards Cuba, which at the time was Castro's main source of income. Cuba charter companies even hired the President's brother, Roger Clinton, to lobby him. In anticipation, Congress preemptively codified the travel ban to prevent any further Presidential expansion of travel.

In 2000, President Clinton supported the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSREEA), which authorized the sale of agricultural and medical products to Cuba. Due to Congressional intervention, a caveat was included that these sales must be cash-only. Since then, over $4 billion in agricultural products have been sold to Cuba -- all to Castro's food monopoly, Alimport. Not one penny has been transacted with regular Cubans.

In 2000, President Clinton sent armed U.S. Marshals into the Little Havana home of Elian Gonzalez's family, in order to forcefully return him to Cuba. Rather than having an impartial family judge decide what was in the best interests of the small boy, whose mother died for his freedom, Elian's fate was decided by President Clinton.  Today, Elian is a young Communist militant, paraded during propaganda outings, while hailing Fidel Castro as "his God."

As Cuban democracy leader, former prisoner of conscience and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, wrote this week, President Clinton missed a historic opportunity to pressure the end of the Castro regime in the 1990s, amid the profound crisis it faced from the end of its Soviet benefactor.

Instead, he did the opposite.

Today, amid a similar crisis resulting from the downward spiral of Castro's Venezuelan benefactor, Hillary seeks to make the same mistake.

Not surprised.

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"Hablame"

"EN TIEMPOS DIFÍCILES" - Heberto Padilla

A aquel hombre le pidieron su tiempo

para que lo juntara al tiempo de la Historia.

Le pidieron las manos,

porque para una época difícil

nada hay mejor que un par de buenas manos.

Le pidieron los ojos

que alguna vez tuvieron lágrimas

para que contemplara el lado claro

(especialmente el lado claro de la vida)

porque para el horror basta un ojo de asombro.

Le pidieron sus labios

resecos y cuarteados para afirmar,

para erigir, con cada afirmación, un sueño

(el-alto-sueño);

le pidieron las piernas

duras y nudosas

(sus viejas piernas andariegas),

porque en tiempos difíciles

¿algo hay mejor que un par de piernas

para la construcción o la trinchera?

Le pidieron el bosque que lo nutrió de niño,

con su árbol obediente.

Le pidieron el pecho, el corazón, los hombros.

Le dijeron

que eso era estrictamente necesario.

Le explicaron después

que toda esta donación resultaria inútil.

sin entregar la lengua,

porque en tiempos difíciles

nada es tan útil para atajar el odio o la mentira.

Y finalmente le rogaron

que, por favor, echase a andar,

porque en tiempos difíciles

esta es, sin duda, la prueba decisiva.

Los Aldeanos: "El Socialismo en Tiempos del Colera: Toda Una Nación"

Etiquetas

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La columna de Cubanalisis

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]
¨Saturno jugando con sus hijos¨/ Pedro Pablo Oliva

Seguidores

Carta desde la carcel de Fidel Castro Ruz

“…después de todo, para mí la cárcel es un buen descanso, que sólo tiene de malo el que es obligatorio. Leo mucho y estudio mucho. Parece increíble, las horas pasan como si fuesen minutos y yo, que soy de temperamento intranquilo, me paso el día leyendo, apenas sin moverme para nada. La correspondencia llega normalmente…”

“…Como soy cocinero, de vez en cuando me entretengo preparando algún pisto. Hace poco me mandó mi hermana desde Oriente un pequeño jamón y preparé un bisté con jalea de guayaba. También preparo spaghettis de vez en cuando, de distintas formas, inventadas todas por mí; o bien tortilla de queso. ¡Ah! ¡Qué bien me quedan! por supuesto, que el repertorio no se queda ahí. Cuelo también café que me queda muy sabroso”.
“…En cuanto a fumar, en estos días pasados he estado rico: una caja de tabacos H. Upman del doctor Miró Cardona, dos cajas muy buenas de mi hermano Ramón….”.
“Me voy a cenar: spaghettis con calamares, bombones italianos de postre, café acabadito de colar y después un H. Upman #4. ¿No me envidias?”.
“…Me cuidan, me cuidan un poquito entre todos. No le hacen caso a uno, siempre estoy peleando para que no me manden nada. Cuando cojo el sol por la mañana en shorts y siento el aire de mar, me parece que estoy en una playa… ¡Me van a hacer creer que estoy de vacaciones! ¿Qué diría Carlos Marx de semejantes revolucionarios?”.
¨La patria es dicha de todos, y dolor de todos, y cielo para todos, y no feudo ni capellaní­a de nadie¨ - Marti

"No temas ni a la prision, ni a la pobreza, ni a la muerte. Teme al miedo"
-
Giacomo Leopardi

¨Por eso es muy importante, Vicky, hijo mío, que recuerdes siempre para qué sirve la cabeza: para atravesar paredes¨Halvar de Flake [El vikingo]

"Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir" - Lorca

"Al final, no os preguntarán qué habéis sabido, sino qué habéis hecho" - Jean de Gerson

"Si queremos que todo siga como está, es necesario que todo cambie" - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

"Todo hombre paga su grandeza con muchas pequeñeces, su victoria con muchas derrotas, su riqueza con múltiples quiebras" - Giovanni Papini


"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" - John Lennon

"Habla bajo, lleva siempre un gran palo y llegarás lejos" - Proverbio Africano

"No hay medicina para el miedo" - Proverbio escoces

"El supremo arte de la guerra es doblegar al enemigo sin luchar"
- Sun Tzu

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" - Albert Einstein

"It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office" - H. L. Menken

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" - Elie Wiesel

"Stay hungry, stay foolish" -
Steve Jobs

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years ther'ed be a shortage of sand" - Milton Friedman

"The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less" - Vaclav Havel

"No se puede controlar el resultado, pero si lo que uno haga para alcanzarlo" -
Vitor Belfort [MMA Fighter]

Liborio

Liborio
A la puerta de la gloria está San Pedro sentado y ve llegar a su lado a un hombre de cierta historia. No consigue hacer memoria y le pregunta con celo: ¿Quién eras allá en el suelo? Era Liborio mi nombre. Has sufrido mucho, hombre, entra, te has ganado el cielo.

Para Raul Castro

Cuba ocupa el penultimo lugar en el mundo en libertad economica solo superada por Corea del Norte.

Cuba ocupa el lugar 147 entre 153 paises evaluados en "Democracia, Mercado y Transparencia 2007"

Cuando vinieron

Cuando vinieron a buscar a los comunistas, Callé: yo no soy comunista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los sindicalistas, Callé: yo no soy sindicalista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los judíos, Callé: yo no soy judío. Cuando vinieron a buscar a los católicos, Callé: yo no soy “tan católico”.
Cuando vinieron a buscarme a mí, Callé: no había quien me escuchara.

Reverendo Martin Niemöller

Martha Colmenares

Martha Colmenares
Un sitio donde los hechos y sus huellas nos conmueven o cautivan

CUBA LLORA Y EL MUNDO Y NOSOTROS NO ESCUCHAMOS

Donde esta el Mundo, donde los Democratas, donde los Liberales? El pueblo de Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan los Green, los Socialdemocratas, los Ricos y los Pobres, los Con Voz y Sin Voz? Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan el Jet Set, los Reyes y Principes, Patricios y Plebeyos? Cuba desesperada clama por solidaridad.
Donde Bob Dylan, donde Martin Luther King, donde Hollywood y sus estrellas? Donde la Middle Class democrata y conservadora, o acaso tambien liberal a ratos? Y Gandhi? Y el Dios de Todos?
Donde los Santos y Virgenes; los Dioses de Cristianos, Protestantes, Musulmanes, Budistas, Testigos de Jehova y Adventistas del Septimo Dia. Donde estan Ochun y todas las deidades del Panteon Yoruba que no acuden a nuestro llanto? Donde Juan Pablo II que no exige mas que Cuba se abra al Mundo y que el Mundo se abra a Cuba?
Que hacen ahora mismo Alberto de Monaco y el Principe Felipe que no los escuchamos? Donde Madonna, donde Angelina Jolie y sus adoptados around de world; o nos hara falta un Brando erguido en un Oscar por Cuba? Donde Sean Penn?
Donde esta la Aristocracia Obrera y los Obreros menos Aristocraticos, donde los Working Class que no estan junto a un pueblo que lanquidece, sufre y llora por la ignominia?
Que hacen ahora mismo Zapatero y Rajoy que no los escuchamos, y Harper y Dion, e Hillary y Obama; donde McCain que no los escuchamos? Y los muertos? Y los que estan muriendo? Y los que van a morir? Y los que se lanzan desesperados al mar?
Donde estan el minero cantabrico o el pescador de percebes gijonese? Los Canarios donde estan? A los africanos no los oimos, y a los australianos con su acento de hombres duros tampoco. Y aquellos chinos milenarios de Canton que fundaron raices eternas en la Isla? Y que de la Queen Elizabeth y los Lords y Gentlemen? Que hace ahora mismo el combativo Principe Harry que no lo escuchamos?
Donde los Rockefellers? Donde los Duponts? Donde Kate Moss? Donde el Presidente de la ONU? Y Solana donde esta? Y los Generales y Doctores? Y los Lam y los Fabelo, y los Sivio y los Fito Paez?
Y que de Canseco y Miñoso? Y de los veteranos de Bahia de Cochinos y de los balseros y de los recien llegados? Y Carlos Otero y Susana Perez? Y el Bola, y Pancho Cespedes? Y YO y TU?
Y todos nosotros que estamos aqui y alla rumiando frustaciones y resquemores, envidias y sinsabores; autoelogios y nostalgias, en tanto Louis Michel comulga con Perez Roque mientras Biscet y una NACION lanquidecen?
Donde Maceo, donde Marti; donde aquel Villena con su carga para matar bribones?
Cuba llora y clama y el Mundo NO ESCUCHA!!!

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