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The OFAC Book of Why: Cuba Sanctions (Part 1)

Disclaimer: The information in this post comes from the documents on OFAC’s website and may not reflect current program details. The sanctions flyer for this program is dated January 24, 2012.

The OFAC Cuban sanctions program is the old man on the block, going all the way back to 1963, when the island nation was sanctioned under the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA). It is currently the last remaining program under TWEA.

The Cuban sanctions program is really complex, so we’ll deal with it in small pieces.

Today: travel.

In general, US citizens can’t go to Cuba – it’s the only country with a travel ban (believe it or not). But there are both General and Specific Licenses available.

First, General Licenses permit the following types of travel:

  • Visits to close relatives (3 generations removed or fewer) who are Cuban nationals
  • Visits to close relatives who are US government officials working at the US Interests Section in Havana
  • Trips by government officials (US and foreign), and by intergovernmental groups that the US belongs to, for official business
  • Journalists and their support staff
  • Professional researchers, people attending professional meetings organized by international organizations, and commercial telecommunications professional meetings
  • Faculty, staff and students for educational purposes, including attending and teaching classes, and academic research. Also covered is travel of Cuban scholars to teach in the US
  • Clergy and other members of US religious organizations
  • Employees of US telecommunication service providers
  • Employees of producers or distributors of certain agricultural commodities, medicines and medical devices

Specific licenses may be granted for persons not fitting one of the General License categories above for the following:

  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Human rights organizations, and other groups providing support to the Cuban populace
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Free-lance journalism
  • Professional research or meetings
  • Athletic, educational or cultural events, including competitions, performances, clinics, workshops, and exhibitions
  • Activities of private foundations, research institutes, or educational institutes
  • Activities related to import/export of information or informational materials
  • Activities related to specific exports to Cuba
  • Visits to other close relatives

Additionally, the following must all be specifically authorized by OFAC:

  • All passengers
  • All crew
  • The vessel operator
  • The Travel Service Provider (OFAC license required)
  • The Carrier Service Provider (OFAC license required)

Next time: Imports of Cuban goods and remittances to/from Cuba

Categories: Cuba Sanctions


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