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Posted November 24, 2004 by Dana Garrett in US Embargo

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By JEANNINE AVERSA | ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

Some companies that sell food and agricultural products to Cuba are reporting that payments are not being credited to their bank accounts in the United States, according to a representative of a group that tracks business between the two countries.

John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council Inc., said Tuesday that fewer than half a dozen companies have contacted his organization recently about such problems.

He said banks have confirmed receipt of payments from Cuba but have not credited the accounts of exporters on instructions from the U.S. government.

A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department said its Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the economic embargo against Cuba, is looking into the matter. OFAC, she said, has been asked to clarify the government’s policy regarding payments. She wouldn’t say who requested the clarification.

“We are taking a serious look at the issue and working with our germane counterparts in the U.S. government,” the Treasury spokeswoman said, speaking on condition that she not be identified further. “We expect to issue guidance in the near future.”

Kavulich wouldn’t provide the names of the companies that have reported payment problems to his group or further details in the cases. The Treasury spokeswoman also declined to provide further information.

“Right now this is a technical issue, but it could become massively political,” said Kavulich.

The embargo against Cuba bans most U.S. exports to the country with a few exceptions, including certain food and agriculture products.

Kavulich estimates that U.S. sales of food and agriculture products to Cuba in 2003 totaled around $256.9 million. He said about 15 companies in the United States account for roughly 90 percent of food and agriculture products that are sold to Cuba.

Kavulich said communicated in both writing and conversations with people at Treasury and elsewhere in the Bush administration about the problem.

President Bush has called for more stringent enforcement of provisions that forbid most economic activity with and travel to Cuba.

Congress has sought to ease restrictions on trade against Cuba but so far has been unable to get a bill to Bush that would do that. The White House has warned that Bush would veto legislation that weakens the ban.

President Kennedy imposed economic sanctions against Cuba in 1963 during the Cold War. The basic goal is to isolate the Cuban government economically and deprive it of U.S. dollars, the government says.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on November 24, 2004 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    I hope this problem is a technical problem,if not,the ones who stand to lose out would be the U.S. companies who supplied the goods to Cuba,Cuba has more than likely already recieved the goods, so the only ones who lose out tremendously are the
    U.S. companies,and if the government had anything to do with the fundss being blocked,they should be ashamed of themselves as they are now hurting their own!

     


  2. Follow up post #2 added on November 24, 2004 by Michael

    This has to be an administrative glitch.I’m sure the US Government can’t wait to see the cash removed from Fidel Castros pocket. But holding up payments for the very companies they are supposed to support makes no sense.


  3. Follow up post #3 added on November 24, 2004 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    Nothing makes sense anymore,they bomb Iraq all the while it was Osama who was to blame for 9/11????

    If I recall in Bush’ speech he said he would stop at nothing to find Osama,yet he pulled troops from Afhgan and slowed the Osama search down to a turtles pace.


  4. Follow up post #4 added on November 25, 2004 by waldo

    The problem is done on purpose. Would you think that Treasury and Oval would not know of all this or be soo inocent and naive? It is more of the same obsolete bloqueo.


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