Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Obama: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is on Cuba
Posted: 10/31/2015 5:27 pm EDT Updated: 10/31/2015 5:59 pm EDT
By Art Heitzer and Marjorie Cohn

Millions of Americans believe that President Obama has normalized
relations with Cuba and ended over 50 years of U.S. efforts to strangle
its economy. They might have been puzzled when the United States stood
up against every other nation save one, in opposing the UN General
Assembly resolution which passed, 191-2, on October 27, 2015. That
resolution condemned the continuing U.S. commercial, economic and
financial embargo against Cuba. According to the Christian Science
Monitor, “when the vote lit up on the screen many diplomats jumped to
their feet in a standing ovation.” The U.S. ambassador was not among them.

The UN resolution welcomed the re-establishment of diplomatic relations
and recognized “the expressed will” of Obama to work for the elimination
of the embargo. But the world community clearly does not think that
intentions are enough. Every year since 1992, the United States has
unsuccessfully opposed these resolutions, ignoring the international
consensus. In 2015, the U.S. deputy ambassador Ronald Godard said it was
“unfortunate” that the text “falls short of reflecting … the spirit of
engagement President Obama has championed.”

Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, called for concrete action
instead. “The lifting of the blockade will be the essential element to
give some meaning to the progress achieved over the past few months in
the relations between both countries and shall set the pace towards
normalization,” he told the General Assembly. Rodriguez said the
blockade is “a unilateral act of the United States and should be lifted
unilaterally, without asking anything in return.” He was critical not
only of the U.S. Congress but also of Obama’s failure to take executive
action to ease the blockade.

This criticism of Obama’s actions may surprise those who simply blame
Congress’s inaction for continuing the economic blockade. Just three
days earlier, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) unanimously adopted a
resolution that criticized actions by the administration which seem to
fly in the face of Obama’s proclaimed “spirit of engagement.”

According to U.S legal experts, most of the legislation over the last 55
years gives the administration the authority to block trade with Cuba —
or not to. For example, the president could allow Cuba to sell its
products to the U.S. market, but nothing has been done in that regard.
Likewise, the U.S. Commerce Department’s January 2015 regulations
generally only allow U.S. manufacturers to supply to private enterprises
in Cuba, and only if they will then be utilized for privately owned
property.

This is a crude attempt to impose privatization on Cuba. A Commerce
Department spokesperson explained that a U.S. producer seeking to supply
a private enterprise in Cuba with heating and air conditioning equipment
to service a Cuban hospital could not do so under the new regulations,
because Cuban hospitals are publicly owned.

The new U.S. regulations are also much more liberal regarding
telecommunications than for trade generally. These arbitrary
restrictions undercut the administration’s suggestion that Congress must
act before the economic blockade can be lifted, although all agree that
a full repeal requires congressional action.

The NLG resolution also noted three areas in which federal officials
appear to be sabotaging attempts to normalize relations with Cuba:

1) The Internal Revenue Service is apparently moving ahead with its
plans to revoke the 501(c)3 non-profit status of the Interreligious
Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace (IFCO/PFP),
based on its long history of using civil disobedience to challenge U.S.
restrictions on travel to and trade with Cuba — even though the unit
with responsibility to enforce these restrictions has not acted against
IFCO/PFP.

2) The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control
(OFAC) has renewed its threats and prosecutions against U.S. persons
based on previous travel to Cuba, four and five years ago, and has
threatened to revive holding the “trials for travel” in Washington D.C.
George W. Bush had instituted those trials but abandoned them in 2006.

3) The U.S. State Department has continued its pattern of unreasonably
delaying or withholding issuance of non-immigrant visas to mainstream
Cubans invited to visit and speak in the United States by academic and
professional organizations. For example, when the American Sociological
Association invited a gay Cuban doctor, who had headed Cuba’s program of
comprehensive treatment for transgender people, to speak to its August
2015 convention in Chicago, it took the offices of Sen. Tammy Baldwin,
and U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, John Conyers and Barbara Lee to pry loose his
visa, which was issued only at the last minute, making him miss most of
the convention. As a result of these congressional efforts, he was then
also able to speak at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center and appeared
on Chicago public television. This is the same experience of many
invited Cubans, most recently a leading Cuban labor lawyer invited to
speak at the October NLG convention, and this has happened year after
year. Both of these Cuban experts have received U.S. visas in the past
and visited here without incident, although each time they have had to
wait until or after the very last minute to book their flights, often
missing much of the conventions they were invited to attend.

Obama hopes to go down in history as having ended the half-century of
U.S. hostility toward Cuba and its revolution. We do not know what the
next administration will bring. We must pressure Obama to act decisively
now to realize his promise to truly normalize relations with Cuba.

Art Heitzer (artheitzer@gmail.com) is an attorney and chair of the Cuba
Subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild. For more information and
actions you can take, visit www.wicuba.org or call 414 273-1040 ext. 12.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, past
president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of
the International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Source: Obama: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is on Cuba | Marjorie
Cohn –
www.huffingtonpost.com/marjorie-cohn/obama-put-your-money-wher_b_8443074.html


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