Measures Taken by the U.S. Since December Against Cuba

October 27, 2015

Cuban Medical Professionals attending to young cancer patient in Havana Hospital, Photo: Bill Hackwell

Cuban medical professionals attending to young cancer patient in Havana hospital, Photo: Bill Hackwell

Despite the December 17 announcements by Cuba and the U.S. to work toward normalizing relations, the blockade – principal obstacle to advancing in this process – remains in force.

1. U.S. firm Gen Tech Scientific refused to sell chromatographs of Agilent Gas 5975C, used for research and diagnostic work in the spheres of biochemistry, pharmaceuticals and medicine, citing trade restrictions imposed by the Department of State on Cuba. This response was issued days after Cuba and the U.S. announced their intention to reestablish diplomatic relations.

2. January 28, 2015, it was revealed that U.S. Company PayPal had frozen the accounts belonging to Brian and Jan Ficht, a Canadian couple of horticulturists, after using them to pay for a three week trip to Cuba to learn about urban farming.

3. February 11, 2015, it was reported that a subsidiary of Santander bank in Mexico refused to transfer 68,290 euros (Cuba’s membership fee), from the Cuban Central Bank to the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies (CEMLA).

4. February 26, 2015, U.S. company PayPal, refused to transfer 90 euros from the German Cuba solidarity group, Cuba-Hilfe-Dortmund, given blockade restrictions.

5. March 12, 2015, German bank Commerzbank agreed to pay a fine of 1.4 billion dollars to the Treasury and Justice Departments, Federal Reserve, New York State Department of Financial Services, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and Manhattan, for violating regulations against Iran, Sudan, Myanmar and Cuba. According to the report by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), from September 2005 to December 2007, Commerzbank processed 56 transactions linked to Cuba worth 2,283,456

6. March 25, 2015, the OFAC imposed a fine of 7,658,300 dollars on U.S. company PayPal, for violating regulations against Cuba and other sanction programs. According to the OFAC report, from December 2010 to September 2013, PayPal processed 98 transactions involving goods of Cuban origin or national interest, at a value of 19,344 dollars.

7. March 26, 2015, it was revealed that funds transferred from Cuba to cover the costs of its embassies in Kiribati, Ecuatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan were rejected by various banks given blockade restrictions.

8. June 1, 2015, U.S. firm Sigma-Aldrich, a leading biochemical and chemical production company, refused to sell Cuban entity Quimimpex, products vital to the development of the island’s chemical industry. Sigma-Aldrich added that it can provide neither products, services nor technical information, given sanctions against Cuba which prevent it from directly or indirectly exporting, re-exporting, selling or providing goods, technology or information from the U.S. or any U.S. citizen, no matter where they are based.

9. June 2, 2015, U.S. Company Columbiana Boiler Company, LLC, specializing in the production of pressurized containers, refused to sell the cylinders needed for chlorine used to sanitize water in the country’s aqueduct system to Cuban entity Quimimpex, noting that it would not be able to ship the products to Cuba. In their response they noted that despite contacting the State Department, they have still not received authorization to ship products to the island.

10. June, 2015, the Japanese branch of U.S. chain store Costco Wholesale, reported that it would be suspending the membership of a representative of the Cuban Embassy in Japan, citing the U.S. blockade as the pretext for this absurd action.

Source: Granma International