United States Cuba Policy & Business Blog

Thursday, July 21, 2011

United States Cuba Relations - The Ros Lehtinen-Szubin Cha Cha Cha

We invite our readers to submit to our blog your response to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's latest rant below to tighten U.S. Cuba travel sanctions enforcement through a letter to the Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Adam Szubin.  OFAC is an office caught in the middle of this struggle as its good civil servants try to interpret the ever changing policy positions of whatever administration is in office at the time. While Mr. Szubin and his office actually have very serious things to worry about like terrorist financing and anti-money laundering efforts by individuals and organizations who indeed want to hurt our country, the Congresswoman would rather OFAC go after anyone promoting visiting Cuba.  She would have our law enforcement jail and fine Americans for going to a Cuban beach or smoking a Cuban cigar as if that were disastrous to our country or that won't bring political change to Cuba.  While OFAC is indeed required to enforce the law, is this the best use of our limited resources and foreign policy priorities?   We know in Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen's mind and that of her political supporters, that it is.    That is the problem.  Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, our sanctions policy on Cuba have been and are a failure.  You continue to promote a failed foreign policy that does not serve the interests of our country; hurts the Cuban people; does not promote human rights in reality; and trashes American constitutional principles.  Cha Cha Cha...

We will publish the most intelligent and witty letters we receive.  - Editor
Send your letters to:  support@uscuba.biz

July 18, 2011  (WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter today to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control regarding efforts by certain travel agencies to circumvent U.S. law by promoting tourist travel to Cuba. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“In accordance with its mandate and mission, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control must immediately take decisive measures to thwart ongoing efforts by some to undermine, and potentially violate, U.S. law regarding tourist travel to Cuba.

“Last week, we learned of a photo contest being held by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana which essentially promotes tourism to the island. This week, we see a local travel agency in the U.S. soliciting travelers for pre-packaged tours of Cuba. 

“Not only is the Obama Administration easing sanctions on the Cuban regime, but it would appear they are also ignoring the regulations in place. It is critical that the Office of Foreign Assets Control strictly enforce U.S. regulations on travel to Cuba and duly impose the corresponding penalties.”

Text of the letter is as follows, and a signed copy may be viewed here:

July 18, 2011

The Honorable Adam J. Szubin
Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) 
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Director Szubin:

I am writing to express my concern regarding efforts by certain travel agencies to circumvent U.S. law by promoting tourist travel to Cuba.

A recent piece in the Monroe News Star entices readers to travel on a seven night pre-packaged tour to Cuba by Monroe Travel Service, stating that the “first wave of pure tourists from America will hit the friendly skies Aug. 11.” The article offers an egregious misrepresentation of the current guidelines regulating travel to Cuba and is indicative of potential schemes by other travel agencies to encourage the participation of U.S. citizens in illegal tourist tours of Cuba.

With this in mind, I would like to request, within all applicable rules and guidelines, information regarding what measures OFAC may be taking to prevent or correct for this type of activity by travel agencies. 

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter. 




Anonymous said...

The reality is The Embargo is a non-embargo. A real embargo would include a blockade, thus ours is a make believe embargo put on mostly for the Cuban who owned property, but were forced to move to the US after the communist takeover. Before we can truthfully answer if it needs to be lifted we must come to terms with a simple question.

-Who owns the stolen property?

If we say the communist robbers the embargo should be lifted. If we say the original owners then the embargo needs to be stepped up.

Our own government seems to have problems with the answer. The Obama logic is the crooks that stole it outright are the owners. The anti-Obama crowd believes the property should be returned to the original owners. I tend to support the logic of the later group, but it is only my opinion.

Yes indeed organized crime owned a lot of Cuba, but the lion share was privatly owned. When it was privatly owned, Cuba was a net exporter. Today it is a net importer. Chavez does much to support Cuba.

Which system has the better track record for its citizens. Under the free market all citizens get an unequal share of the production. Under socialism all citizens get an equal share of an ever decreasing pie. I have never seen an exception.

Perhaps it is time to have a national debate?

Anonymous said...

it is time to have a national debate... It is the only way to stops those crasy people from continue with that failed politic...