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Posted May 10, 2007 by publisher in OFAC

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Controversial documentary maker Michael Moore is being investigated by the US government over a recent trip to Cuba as part of a new film about US healthcare.

Moore, who won an Oscar for the 2002 film Bowling for Columbine, was under investigation for taking a group of September 11 rescue workers to Cuba for medical treatment and thereby breaking a 45-year-old US embargo on the country.

A letter from the US treasury written to Moore gives the filmmaker 20 working days to explain the purpose of the trip and give details including departure dates and names and addresses of those who went.

Mercy trip

Moore’s spokeswoman Lisa Cohen says the director took 10 rescue workers to Cuba for medical treatment in February.

The group were suffering from medical conditions believed connected to their jobs clearing debris from the site of the World Trade Centre in New York in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks of 2001.

She added that Moore had arranged to have a copy of the film put in a safe location outside the United States to protect it from government interference.

Meghan O’Hara, the producer of Moore’s new film SiCKO, which is due to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next week, blamed President George W Bush for the probe into the Cuba trip.

“The efforts of the Bush administration to conduct a politically-motivated investigation of Michael Moore and SiCKO will not stop us from making sure the American people see this film,” she said in a statement.

“President Bush and the Bush administration should be spending their time trying to help these heroes get health care instead of abusing the legal process to advance a political agenda,” she added.

Bush has been a frequent target in Moore’s films, notably in the 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which accuses President Bush of exploiting the September 11 attacks to justify wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The embargo on Cuba was introduced by former president John F. Kennedy in 1961 and has since been tightened several times, with the stated aim of bringing democracy to the communist-run island.

Under the terms of the embargo, US nationals may not spend money in Cuba, which effectively bars them from travelling to the Caribbean island located just 150 kilometres from the south-eastern tip of the United States.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on May 10, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Mr. Moore,

    Welcome to US Cuba policy. You are not being singled out as much as you would think that this is just another Bush conspiracy.

    ANYONE who goes to Cuba with as much fanfare as you did can expect to hear from OFAC.

    I hope you fight it just like I hope everyone fights for the freedom to travel.

    Who knows, maybe Michael Moore can actually do some good with his life.

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on May 11, 2007 by MapleRum

    This response to the Michael Moore is two fold. Firstly, about the film’s subject matter and secondly on what Michael Moore can do about his pending “doo doo” with the American authorities.

    Health care is very much a moral issue. The majority of people in the world believe it is morally wrong to profit in such a manner as corporations and individuals do in the United States. Despite all of its shortcomings and pharmaceutical shortages, the Cuban health care system will be a worthy system to save when Cuba changes. It has been under stress for the past few years, Fidel and the system have been horse trading doctors for oil. Several of my friends in Cuba are doctors and to me they are doctors because they truly care about people and not because they can have the latest Mercedes and the deluxe yuppy monster home.

    They take on part time jobs so that they can still be doctors, my one friend drives people around in his state owned Lada for money. I bring duffle bags of medicine from my local hospital (we have a program to deal with excess medicine instead of incinerating it) and he makes sure it gets to the right people.

    It is just a guess, but I think Michael Moore will be showing the difference on how countries can deliver universal health care.  Poor, rich, socialist and capitalist, it doesn’t matter, its about the moral thing of providing care. Politics should never be a part of health care.

    The secondly part, Michael Moore should not be too worried about his Cuba trips. Because of errors within current imposed American travel restrictions there are loop holes. These loop holes are significant and really make the restrictions a joke. So, I do not know why more Americans don’t visit Cuba considering the loop holes.

    Of course I am not a lawyer, but a good friend from Michigan is and he beats them every time.

    1./ The defense lawyer will ask you (or Michael Moore), “Do you recall having a meeting with me regarding you travel to Cuba”
    2./ Your response “Yes”
    3./ The defense lawyer “Did I tell you not to use American dollars?”
    4./ Your response, “Yes”
    5./ The defense lawyer, “Did you spend American dollars?”
    6./ Your response, “No”
    7./ The defense lawyer will look at the judge, the judge will dismiss the case.

    Mr. Moore did not spend American dollars in Cuba, in fact his Canadian friend paid for the meals, drinks, and hotel. There are more tricks, but I will save them for another day.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on May 11, 2007 by Pete Chavez

    As much as I enjoy Michael Moore’s films, I can see past the obvious agenda behind this whole Cuba trip.  With the govt. now interviewing him about his trip,  it couldn’t have happened at a better time as he now has all this free publicity and new found spotlight just as his film is about to debut next week in Cannes.  I hope those sick first responders have truly benefitted meaningfully from this publicity stunt.  If they did then this whole charade was worth it.  If they did not, then shame on Michael Moore and some much for his credibility.

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