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Trump issues changes to strengthen rules regarding Cuba sanctions

The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control has amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to further implement President Donald Trump’s June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum strengthening the U.S. policy toward Cuba.
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The United States Department of the Treasury says its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to further implement US President Donald J. Trump’s June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) Strengthening the Policy of the United States Towards Cuba.

The U.S. Treasury Department said that the changes amend certain authorizations related to the provision of remittances to Cuba and eliminate the authorization for specific financial transactions known as “U-turn” transactions.

“We are taking additional steps to financially isolate the Cuban regime,” Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “The United States holds the Cuban regime accountable for its oppression of the Cuban people and support of other dictatorships throughout the region, such as the illegitimate Maduro regime.

“Through these regulatory amendments, Treasury is denying Cuba access to hard currency, and we are curbing the Cuban government’s bad behavior while continuing to support the long-suffering people of Cuba.”

The U.S. Treasury Department said these actions mark “an ongoing commitment to implement the President’s Cuba policy.”

Previously, on June 5, OFAC further restricted non-family travel to Cuba by removing an authorization for group people-to-people educational travel, pursuant to an April 17 foreign policy announcement.

The recently announced Treasury Department changes will take effect on Oct. 9, which is 30 days from the date the regulations will be published in the U.S. Federal Register.

In the changes, the Treasury Department said OFAC places a cap of US$1,000 per quarter that one remitter can send per quarter to one Cuban national, “and is prohibiting remittances to close family members of prohibited Cuban officials and members of the Cuban Communist Party.”

“OFAC is eliminating the authorization for donative remittances,” the statement said.

On remittances to certain individuals and independent non-governmental organizations in Cuba, the Treasury Department said OFAC adds a provision authorizing such remittances to support the operation of economic activity in the non-state sector by self-employed individuals “in light of the NSPM’s policy to encourage the growth of the Cuban private sector independent of government control.”

The Treasury Department said OFAC is also removing the authorization for banking institutions subject to US jurisdiction to process certain funds transfers originating and terminating outside the United States, commonly known as “U-turn” transactions.

“Banking institutions subject to US jurisdiction will be authorized to reject such transactions, but may no longer process the transactio­ns,” the Treasury Department said.

The U.S. Department of State said that “in line with the president’s foreign policy on Cuba, these actions are designed to target the Cuban regime while continuing to provide vital relief to the long-suffering people of Cuba.”

“As National Security Advisor Bolton said in April, ‘we know that families in the United States want to help their loved ones in Cuba, and we want Cubans to get the support they need and deserve. We know that these remittances are critical to families,’” said the State Department in a statement.

“The United States continues to hold Cuba accountable for its repression of the Cuban people, its interference in Venezuela and its unconscionable support of the illegitimate former Maduro regime,” it added. “Despite widespread international condemnation, Maduro continues to undermine his country’s institutions and subvert the Venezuelan people’s right to self-determination. Empowered by Cuba, he has created a humanitarian disaster that destabilizes the region.”

Trump’s latest action is another step in his unrelenting campaign to roll back former U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy on Cuba.

Obama had restored diplomatic ties and loosened travel restrictions to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean country.

Updated 9:43 am, September 10, 2019
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