Friday, July 09, 2004

Cuba Bits

As always, news on Cuba gives some of the clearest insights into the Amerian foreign policy mind and modern day impreialism.

Along with the tangible new draconian Bush Administration measures on Cuba (adopted from teh Commission for a Free Cuba - see below), it appears the Administration is adopting aggressive legal techniques to bludgen those who have the guts to invest and sell goods to Cuba. In the past week, we have the folowing nuggets:

+ The biotechnology firm Chiron Corporation was fined $168,000 for exporting vaccines for children to Cuba. Chiron had permission to sell one type of vaccine to Cuba, via the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), but did not have authorization from Washington for two other vaccines it sold. The corporation itself informed the US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of what it called an oversight.

+ Earlier this year, Alpha Pharmaceutical Inc., based in Panama, was forced to pay a fine of $198,700 dollars for having traded with the island.

+ This week, Club Med was hit with a lawsuit oer its resort in Veradero, Cuba. Club Med plans to fight the lawsuit, arguing it did nothing wrong. Club Med is accused on land vacated by a 95 year old Cuban-American living in Miami.

+ A couple weeks ago, the Jamaican Supperclubs showed much less spine and simply gave up its stake in 2 all-inclusive resorts in Cuba over threats to its investors.

In other news:

U.S. medical students leave Cuba for fear of Bush measures

THE majority of U.S. students who have been studying medicine in Cuba have returned to their country over the last few days, fearing that they will be imprisoned or fined as a result of the Bush administration’s new measures against the island.

On June 25, the Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) warned them that they could remain in Cuba until August 1. Curiously, the students did not receive this information in time and have missed their end-of-year exams as a result.

Relief convoy defies Cuba embargo

HIDALGO, Texas — School buses and other vehicles loaded with medical and office equipment crossed the border into Mexico on Wednesday on a relief trip to Cuba that violates the U.S. embargo. It was the 14th consecutive year that Pastors for Peace, an American humanitarian aid group, has sought to bring supplies to the impoverished communist nation in spite of the embargo.

There are fears that this trip may be the one that gets its organizers in trouble. Look out for what happens when the voluteers return in 2 weeks.


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