Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Uncle Sam's latest blacklist

The U.S. Treasury Department has updated its Specially Designated Nationals list. The so-called SDNs are individuals, groups, companies and even websites that are subject to U.S. economic sanctions.
U.S. law generally forbids American citizens and companies from working with SDNs unless they have Treasury approval or are somehow exempt.
Cuba-related SDNs are below:

AERO-CARIBBEAN (a.k.a. AEROCARIBBEAN AIRLINES), Havana, Cuba [CUBA].

AEROCARIBBEAN AIRLINES (a.k.a. AERO-CARIBBEAN), Havana, Cuba [CUBA].

ANTAMALLO SHIPPING CO. LTD. (a.k.a. ATAMALLO SHIPPING CO. LTD.), c/o EMPRESA DE
NAVEGACION MAMBISA, Apartado 543, San Ignacio 104, Havana, Cuba [CUBA].

ANTILLANA SALVAGE CO. LTD., c/o EMPRESA ANTILLANA DE SALVAMENTO, 4th Floor,
Lonja del Comercio, Havana Vieja, Havana, Cuba [CUBA].

ATAMALLO SHIPPING CO. LTD. (a.k.a. ANTAMALLO SHIPPING CO. LTD.), c/o EMPRESA DE
NAVEGACION MAMBISA, Apartado 543, San Ignacio 104, Havana, Cuba [CUBA].

BETTINA SHIPPING CO. LTD., c/o EMPRESA DE NAVEGACION MAMBISA, Apartado 543, San
Ignacio 104, Havana, Cuba [CUBA].

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Too sacred for sniffing

Photo: Franklin Reyes/AP
Cuban officials are raising a stink over a state-run company's plans to market colognes named after Ernesto "Che" Guevara and the late Hugo Chavez.
LABIOFAM Entrepreneurial Group is developing the fragrances - called "Ernesto" and "Hugo." The company announced its plans at a congress held in Havana from Sept. 22 to Sept. 26.
On Friday, the executive committee of Cuba's Council of Ministers said neither of the families of the dead revolutionaries had authorized use of their names.
According to Granma, the committee statement said "the details of this irresponsible action were analyzed in depth" with the director of Labiofam and other officials who presented the product.
It was clarified that it is not true that the families of "Che" and Chavez had approved such a use of their names, as one of the officials told the AP, the American news agency.
For this mistake, the appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken. 
Initiatives of this nature will never be accepted by our people and by the revolutionary government. 
Symbols yesterday, today and always, are sacred.
The director of LABIOFAM is José Antonio Fraga Castro, nephew of Fidel and Raul Castro.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ingenieous: A Lada-powered boat


Congratulations to these intrepid Cuban migrants, who made it to U.S. safely in a craft powered by the sturdy motor of a Russian Lada.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lawyers: U.S. put Alan Gross in danger

USAID counterintelligence guide
The U.S. government violated its own security guidelines when it sent Alan Gross on the first of five trips to Cuba, then failed to protect him after he expressed concern about his safety, his lawyers said in documents filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.
Cuban authorities arrested Gross on Dec. 3, 2009, and he was later convicted of crimes against the Cuban state.
When Gross turned 65 in May he told his lawyer he'd rather be dead than spend another birthday behind bars. A 49-page brief filed in court states:
Although Mr. Gross’s plight continues to receive national and international media attention, he remains imprisoned in Cuba more than four years after his arrest. Mr. Gross endures harsh conditions, and faces another decade of imprisonment. Mr. Gross’s health has deteriorated, his family has been torn apart, and his business and career have been destroyed.
On Friday, lawyers for Gross told a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals that he and his wife should have the right to sue the U.S. government and collect damages.
James E. Boasberg
U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg rejected that argument in 2013.
Many private claims against the U.S. government never go forward because the government has what's known as sovereign immunity.
The Federal Tort Claims Act, or FTCA, waives that immunity in certain cases.
Lawyers for the government say the FTCA doesn't apply to the Gross case. They say he can't make a claim against the U.S. government for harm he has suffered as a result of his jailing in a foreign country.
Gross's lawyers - Scott D. Gilbert, Barry I. Buchman, Natalie A. Baughman and Emily P. Grim - disagree.
They say his project in Cuba was "organized, directed, funded, and overseen" by the U.S. government.