Washington fines companies for violating Cuba blockade
Published on Thursday, November 13, 2008
HAVANA, Cuba,(ACN): Three US companies were recently fined more than
US$43,000 by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US
Treasury Department for violating the US economic, trade and financial
blockade of Cuba, which was overwhelmingly condemned by the UN General
Assembly last month.
According to Notimex news agency, one of the firms is Myers Industries,
one of the biggest distributors of tools and supplies for repairing
tires, which agreed to pay $16,250, according to the first OFAC report
for the fiscal year that began in October.
The firm, with its headquarters in Akron, Ohio, voluntarily made the
case public and admitted that in 2004 one of its foreign subsidiaries
sold products to Cuba or people related to the Caribbean nation without
the required OFAC license.
Another company, Priceline.com, which sells airplane tickets and makes
hotel reservations through the Internet, was fined $12,250.
Likewise, the Center for Intercultural Studies in Amherst,
Massachusetts, was fined $15,000.
Last year, Travelocity, another Internet travel agency, received one of
the highest fines for violating the blockade, $182,750, while this year
Spirit Airlines was forced to pay $100,000.
Estimates show that during the 2008 fiscal year OFAC fines totaled over
$2 million, the highest amount since President George W. Bush stiffened
the blockade in 2004 with further restrictions on travels and
remittances to Cuba.
Last October, 185 countries of the UN General Assembly condemned the US
blockade of Cuba when they supported a resolution presented by the Cuban
delegation there. Only the United States, Israel and Palau were against
the resolution while Micronesia and Marshall Islands abstained.