From a Havana Journal reader
Not all western unions (wu) are authorized to send money to relatives in Cuba, perhaps only those with Big Brother. Not knowing this I went to a couple of wu near home before I located an authorized one. One place went thru all the paper work, put info into their computer and even collected my $325 ($300 for my sister in Cuba plus $25 fee) dollars before it found out they were not authorized. The unhappy costumer service employee, while returning my money, made a negative comment about all the restrictive nonsense that caused her business to loose a customer.
While waiting after giving the money to the clerk, I was surprised to read a printed notice posted nearby advising customers that the maximum amount that could be sent to China or Vietnam was $2,000, and no affidavits.
Next day I drove many miles to downtown Los Angeles and drove around for a while trying to find an empty parking meter place, finally I gave up and paid $7 dollars for parking in a private lot 5 blocks away. Besides the wu application, a comprehensive, detailed and inquisitive ‘Cuban Remittance Affidavit’ with copies on expensive NCR paper must be filled and signed. My affidavit number approaches the number 3,000,000, and if this represents the number of applications used, imagine the amount of paper trail that exist and the amount that there shall be, and all out of our taxpayers’ pockets.
Some of the remarkable printing appearing on said affidavit:
Original Form Approved
Revision Pending Approval
OMB # xxxx-xxxx
This affidavit is to be completed by the remitter, pursuant to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR Part 515, under the Trading with the Enemy Act, 50 U.S.C. App.1-44, the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 6001-6010), and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, 22 U.S.C. 6021-91. It is to be submitted to the remittance service provider and kept on file for five years, subject to audit by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
I understand that I may send up to $300 per payee’s household in a 3-month period… provided that no member of that household is a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba or a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party. *
* The term “prohibited official of the Government of Cuba” includes: Ministers and Vice-ministers, members of the Council of State, and the Council of Ministers; members and employees of the National Assembly of People’s Power; members of any provincial assembly; …secretaries of the Confederation of Labor of Cuba (CTC) and its component unions; … editors … including newspapers, television, and radio; … (the list goes on and on for two full paragraphs extending to the back of the form however, Elian Gonzales is not in it).
I returned home flabbergasted; a masterpiece of bureaucratic perfection, Acts and more Acts from the most powerful ever against a relatively insignificant developing island, much obsolete nonsense restriction, harass, waste of tax dollars and double standards, and all for wanting to send a miserable $300 to help my needed sister and her grandchildren in Cuba (“the enemy”?). Come to think about it, I also returned home feeling ashamed of such democracy, freedom and double standards from Washington! Don’t they have anything better to do?
December 2004. A Cuban-American, California. USA.