CSC responds to the Guardian claim that the US embargo of Cuba has ended
Campaign News | Friday, 16 June 2017
In the Guardian article on Donald Trump’s recent anti Cuban policy announcement (Donald Trump to announce new restrictions on Cuba trade and travel, June 16th), Julian Borger claims that one of Obama’s signature foreign policy achievements, was "ending an embargo of more than a half century". The facts are very different and the embargo has very much remained in place throughout this time.
While the renewal of diplomatic relations and limited openings have taken place, the reality for Cuba has been a continuation of the aggressive policies from its superpower neighbour: US citizens are only allowed to travel there under special licence, international companies are still being fined for trading with Cuba, and trade and investment with the island is stifled by the ongoing threats of severe penalties against those breaking US blockade policies.
During Obama's term of office (2009-2017), 56 fines, totalling $14.27 billion, were imposed on international companies for violations of US blockade policies. Since the ‘normalisation’ of relations in December 2014, the US government has fined 11 international companies a further $2.8 billion US dollars. Earlier this month the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) fined the American Honda Finance Corporation US$87,255 for violating US regulations that are part of the trade embargo against Cuba.
In October 2016 a Cuban motion was passed at the United Nations calling for an end to the continuing blockade of Cuba. In November 2015 the Co-operative Bank closed the Cuba Solidarity Campaign accounts in this country as a direct consequence of anti-Cuban US blockade policies: Niall Booker, the bank’s CEO, confirmed that the closure was due to ‘risk’ arising from “the sanctions that are in place imposed by OFAC.”
*Update 19/06/2017. Following Cuba Solidarity Campaign's letter to the Guardian on their false claim that Obama "ended the embargo", they have since apologised and updated the online article to read that Obama's administration instead achieved an "easing" of the embargo.