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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

US Treasury Department Drops Charges Against Methodists for Visiting Church in Cuba

Posted November 05, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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RHC

The US Treasury Department has ordered federal charges dropped against three members of a Methodist church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who were accused of spending US dollars during a visit to Cuba.

At a news conference called by the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba, attorney Art Heitzer said that Washington will end nearly six years of threats and legal prosecution of the Methodist 3, as they became known in Milwaukee, without requiring any fines or other penalties.

They were among six members of Milwaukee’s oldest Methodist Church, Central United Methodist, who visited their sister church in Havana to help celebrate its 100th anniversary. Earlier this year, they were charged with spending between 40 and 70 dollars each, resulting in government demands for penalties totally $22,500.

Supporters of the Methodist 3 say the US Treasury Department’s only condition on dropping the charges was that they drop their counterclaims against the government.

The three church members charged interference with their religion and racism, pointing to the fact that most of the white members of the delegation were not prosecuted, while two African-Americans were.

Attorneys for the three told reporters that information on their case was circulated widely during the presidential election campaign in Wisconsin, and that negotiating final language for the dismissals had been taking place over the last several weeks.

Member Comments

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On November 05, 2004, publisher wrote:

Some key points here:

1. $22,500 fine for spending money in Cuba.

2. “US Treasury Department’ only condition on dropping the charges was that they drop their counterclaims against the government.”

Shame on the Bush Administration. SHAME!

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On November 06, 2004, Jesus Perez wrote:

The problem with the Bush Administration is that they HAVE NO SHAME, in the pursuit of their agenda the end justifies the means, didn’t Marx say that?

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On November 07, 2004, Dana Garrett wrote:

I have suspicions about the governmentís decision not to pursue these charges.  Although I am glad that the charges were dropped, I canít help but suspect that they were dropped because of the overt religious nature of the travel.  I doubt, rather seriously, that the USA would drop the charges against a Cuban-American who violated Bushís restrictions and traveled to Cuba to visit a family member.

I offer this as evidence: George Bush is a Methodist, but he is not a Cuban-American with relatives in Cuba.