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Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The long reach of the Cuba blockade

The latest example of the long extraterritorial reach of the U.S. economic blockade (or economic warfare, if you prefer) of Cuba:
Last week the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") released its monthly summary of penalties imposed by the agency.

In one case the agency levied a fine of $31,336 and in another the fine was $2800. One of those two cases involved violation of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and the other involved violation of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Control Regulations. Guess which one got the bigger fine.

If you guessed the Cuba case, you win the cigar (Honduran, of course). Acme Furniture got the $31,336 fine for shipping furniture from China to Cuba. Hecny Transportation got the smaller fine for dealing with goods produced by a foreign person designated under the WMD Control Regulations.

Three of the other cases reported by OFAC involved a perennial favorite of the OFAC enforcement staff: people who buy Cuban cigars over the Internet. One particularly dangerous cigar purchaser was fined $2304, only a few dollars less than it cost Hecny to deal with a designated purveyor of WMD.

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