Is the Blockade Against Cuba a Bilateral Problem?

By Cubadebate

The announcement on Thursday of Avianca Holdings air consortium suspending ticket sales to and from Cuba, a decision attributed to “a pending issue with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)”, due to the regulations of The United States with respect to the economic blockade that the country maintains against Cuba, is proof of the fallacy of the American political discourse that the economic, commercial and financial siege against Cuba is a bilateral issue.

A review of the report that Cuba sent to the United Nations on the effects of the blockade, clearly shows, with numerous examples, the extraterritorial nature of this aberrant policy:

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  • On July 19, 2018 , Tesla’s battery manufacturer, Panasonic, suspended relations with its Canadian supplier SHERRITT INTERNATIONAL CORP for using cobalt from Cuba. The decision of the Japanese manufacturer came after it requested guidance from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury about its interpretation of the scope of the US ban on imports of Cuban origin.
  • On August 9, 2018, it was learned that the PICHINCHA banking agency in Ecuador, refused to provide its payment services to a customer who purchased Cuban medicines. The bank claimed that Cuba is part of the countries identified by OFAC as foreign terrorist governments, drug traffickers or international criminals.
  • On August 15, 2018 , it was learned that the German bank COMMERZBANK and the branch of UNICREDIT SPA in Italy, blocked a shipment of 7,500 euros to Argentina, made by the Association of Friendship Euskadi-Cuba to support a Cuban visual health project in that country.
  • On October 8, 2018 , it was learned that the branch in Nicaragua of the US banking company Banco LAFISE, refused to make several transfers of the Nicaraguan land transport company of MULSEPROSA logistics cargo (Multiple Services Professionals SA), required to guarantee the payment of the stand during the FIHAV 2018 trade fair and make the reservation at the Parque Central hotel, where they would stay during their stay in Cuba. This situation caused MULSEPROSA not to participate in FIHAV 2018. The reasons for not carrying out the transactions were due to instructions from the president of the bank, who complied with the instructions of the US.
  • On November 21, 2018 , it was learned that the British company Adler Manufacturing Limited (ADLER), dedicated to promoting companies and businesses in the United Kingdom through printing products, informed the tourism office of the Cuban embassy in that country, the cancellation of an order made on September 25 of the same year. ADLER explained that its new carrier was the multibillion-dollar US company UPS (United Postal Service of America), which is why it could not maintain ties with Cuba.

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  • On February 14, 2019 , the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury imposed a penalty of $ 5,556,54 on the company APPLICHEM GMBH, based in Darmstadt, Germany, for 304 apparent violations of the Regulations for the Control of Cuban Assets. APPLICHEM GMBH, an entity that manufactures laboratory substances and chemical products for industrial use and operates as a subsidiary of the US company ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC., sold its products to Cuba between May 2012 and February 2016 in violation of the blockade laws, according to the OFAC.
  • On February 25, 2019 , a Cuban delegation composed of representatives of the Information Technology and Advanced Telematic Services Company (CITMATEL), the University of Computer Science (UCI), the National Software Company (DESOFT), the Company of Mobile Telecommunications (MOVITEL), the Cuban Society for Telecommunications (CUBATEL) and the Chamber of Commerce as coordinator, was excluded from the Mobile World Congress 2019, held in Barcelona.This event is considered one of the most important worldwide in mobile telephony and is organized by an association of mobile operators called GSMA, governed by or with US interests, and of which Cuba is a member through its Ministry of Communications. When attempting the online accreditation of the Cuban delegation, a warning appeared that Cuba, Syria and Iran had access prohibited by U.S. government regulations.
  • On April 5, 2019 , the Office for the Control of Foreign Assets (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury, included in its list of sanctions 34 vessels owned by the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, as well as two other companies foreigners (BALLITO SHIPPING INCORPORATED, based in Liberia, and PROPER IN MANAGEMENT INCORPORATED, based in Greece), claiming that they provide service to Venezuela for the shipment of crude to Cuba. According to the Department of the Treasury, the penalties include the freezing of financial assets that they may have under US jurisdiction and the prohibition of financial transactions with the entities and vessels included in the list.
  • On April 11, 2019, the Office for the Control of Foreign Assets (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury imposed a penalty on ACTEON GROUP LTD. and its subsidiary 2H Offshore, both based in England, for violations of the Regulations for the Control of Cuban Assets. The amount to be paid by the companies is $ 227,500. ACTEON must pay another $ 213 866 for additional violations of the blockade laws against Cuba.
  • On April 17, 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that as of May 2 they would be allowed under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, lawsuits in US courts against people natural or legal that “traffic” with properties
    nationalized by the Cuban government at the beginning of the revolution. On that same date, the National Security advisor, John Bolton, announced additional measures against Cuba aimed at limiting remittances from the US, further restricting travel for reasons unfamiliar to Cuba and ending the use of transactions through U-Turn financials, which allow Cubans to make international transfers with the intention of pressuring third-country companies, intimidating them and forcing them out of Cuba. Bolton warned that hereafter, Title IV of the Helms-Burton Act, which prohibits entry into the U of executives and their families, as well as owners of entities that “traffic” with nationalized properties, would be applied more rigorously.
  • In May 2019, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) cancelled the access of the travel agency HAVANATUR and the Cuban Aviation airline to the mechanism of payment and reservation of air tickets (BSP), for the offices of those Cuban entities in Mexico, France and Italy, for which reference was made to the regulations of the blockade. This decision implies a significant financial and operational impact on Cuban entities.

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  • On November 20, 2018, the German company Isotrak USA Eckert & Ziegler Reference & Calibration, refused to supply MEDICUBA with a radioactive source initially contracted, necessary to perform the quality control of radionuclides in the diagnosis of cancer. The company said it was not willing to conduct business with Cuba, as a result of US restrictions. against the island.
  • On February 26, 2019, several suppliers informed MEDICUBA that they could not deliver the contracted lung fans, because the manufacturers IMT MEDICAL AG and ACUTRONIC had been purchased by Vyaire Medical Inc., a company based in Illinois, USA. Pulmonary ventilators are of high importance for the Cuban health system, as they are used to mechanically assist patients when spontaneous pulmonary ventilation compromises life.
  • On January 23, 2019, the Société General de Paris bank retained a bank transfer with a balance of 7 474 Euros, which was destined to Cuba, for the payment of the professional services of Cuban teachers who are in Equatorial Guinea.
  • The Caribbean Baseball Confederation has failed to establish an agreement with the United States government to create a legal route that allows it to pay the prizes to our country. The Cuban team that participated in the Caribbean Baseball Series, held in Panama from February 4 to 10, 2019, could not collect their cash prize of $ 72,000, for obtaining second place in that event. The same happened with several Cuban athletes who could not receive their $ 5,000 prizes per player.

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Between April 2018 and March 2019, there were effects on the Cuban banking system by 140 foreign banks. During this period, foreign banking institutions that joined the service refusal policy increased by 12, alluding to the US blockade.

  • On June 1, 2018 , the Luxembourg branch of the Dutch bank ING , refused to make a transaction from the Luxembourg company e-Time Corp. addressed to the company CUBAEXPORT, as a result of the US blockade against Cuba.
  • On June 12, 2018, the New Zealand branch of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) sent a letter to the Association of New Zealand Travel Agencies (TAANZ), informing them that from that moment any transaction was prohibited or related treatment (directly or indirectly) with countries under US sanctions, including Cuba.
  • On August 2, 2018, the Brazilian branch of the US company FEDEX canceled the services to the Cuban embassy and consulates in that country, based on instructions received from its parent company in the US. because Cuba is under sanctions of the OFAC.
  • On August 15, 2018 , it was learned that Santander Rio Bank in Argentina did not make a transfer indicated by HAVANATUR to the BFI for an amount of $ 250,000 (ordered with the equivalent amount in euros).
  • On August 16, 2018, it was known that the Dominican banks BANRESERVAS and BHD León closed the accounts belonging to the branch in the Dominican Republic of the Cuban company of Aviation, because Cuba is under US sanctions.

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  • On August 21, 2018, Panamanian bank MULTIBANK closed the current account in dollars of the company Cubana de Aviacion SA in Panama City.
  • On August 28, 2018 , the subsidiary of the US company FEDEX in Saint Lucia proceeded to close the account of the Cuban embassy in that country, due to the regulations of the blockade.
  • On September 30, 2018 , the branch in Bahamas of the US company FEDEX closed the account of the Cuban embassy in that country, by orientation of its legal department in the US.
  • On October 1, 2018 , it was learned that the Suriname branch of the Dutch bank DSB refused to continue making dollar transactions with the Cuban embassy in that country, due to the blockade regulations.
  • On October 2, 2018 , the Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk hotel in Japan canceled a reservation from the Cuban embassy in that country at the indication of its parent company in the US and claimed that it could not provide its services due to US sanctions against Cuba.

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  • On October 16, 2018 , the Jamaican branch of the US company FEDEX froze the delivery of two passport shipments made from the Cuban embassy in Washington to the Cuban diplomatic mission in Kingston, due to US sanctions against Cuba.
  • On October 30, 2018, the Panamanian financial entity MULTIBANK sent an affidavit to the Cuban embassy in Panama, which seeks to establish the “decoupling” with Cuba. The note required the signature of the Cuban ambassador in Panama, as the legal representative of Cuba, and refers to the regulations of the blockade.
  • On November 29, 2018, the private equity bank Halyk Bank, merged with the KAZKOM bank in Kazakhstan, sent a letter to the Cuban embassy in that country after the temporary freezing of their accounts, a numbering change without notice and the collection of a large bank commission. The letter said that the decision was due to the regulations of the blockade.
  • On December 17, 2018 , it was learned that the subsidiary of the US company FEDEX in Saint Kitts and Nevis informed the Cuban embassy in that country that it suspended the parcel service it had offered.
  • On December 17, 2018, the Malaysian banking entity MAYBANK notified the Cuban citizen Miguel Morales about the closure of his account, after receiving instructions as a result of the blockade regulations.

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  • On January 4, 2019, it was learned that the National Bank of Canada informed the Canadian company based in Toronto, INTERCOPEX LTD, about new requirements for DHL for countries under sanctions, including Cuba, which prevented processing its documentation to our country. Following the retention of the service by DHL, the National Bank of Canada notified all Cuban banks about the situation.
  • On January 16, 2019, the supplier DEVEXPORT communicated to the Cuban importing company CEXNI, the impossibility of making the deliveries corresponding to the 80063 contract, for the purchase of 143 tons of sodium cyanide in briquettes, aimed at the production of Doré (gold ). This was because the authorities of the manufacturer’s country banned shipments during 2019 for Cuba, claiming to avoid sanctions from the US Treasury Department to their companies, for trading with the Island.
  • In February 2019 , the MEDICUBA company received several communications from suppliers with whom it had signed contracts, informing that the MULTIBANK Bank of Panama announced the closure of Cuban accounts, which generated difficulties for the collection and execution of commercial operations, having to look for other alternatives and supplement the contracts already signed.
  • In April 2019, executives of the National Petroleum, Gas and Metal Corporation of Japan (JOGMEC, its acronym in English) transferred to the embassy of Cuba in that country the decision of three of their companies, to cancel their participation in a joint project with CUPET on a geochemical study for possible project at risk of one or more blocks in shallow waters and / or on land. They claimed that the decision was made by the businesses of the companies involved in the US.

Source URL: Cubadebate

Translated by JRE/EF