President Trump And Vice President Pence Speak About Cuba

The Honorable
Donald Trump
President of the United States

16 October 2017
Press Conference
Rose Garden
The White House

Q General Kelly said just last week that you believe that Cuba could stop the attacks against Americans. Do you believe them, that Cuba is -- do you believe Cuba is responsible?

THE PRESIDENT: I think Cuba knew about it, sure. I do believe Cuba is responsible. I do believe that. And it's a very unusual attack, as you know, but I do believe Cuba is responsible, yes.

United States Department of State
Briefing
17 October 2017

QUESTION: Can I just talk quickly about the Cuba attack?

MS NAUERT: Yeah.

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: The President answered yesterday a question about whether or not he believes that Cuba is responsible for the attacks on U.S. personnel in the affirmative. And he said, “It’s a very unusual attack, as you know, but I do believe Cuba is responsible, yes.”

MS NAUERT: Yeah.

QUESTION: That runs counter to what you have told us so far, that the investigation is ongoing and that while you hold Cuba responsible for the safety of these diplomats you don’t hold them responsible for the attacks. Does the President know something --

MS NAUERT: Well, we’ve been clear in saying that an investigation is ongoing. I think what the President was saying and also what his Chief of Staff General Kelly was saying last week is the same thing that we have been saying, in that Cuba is responsible for protecting our U.S. embassy personnel, our diplomats who are serving down there, under the Vienna Conventions. That has been very clear all along. They have that responsibility. That is what they are supposed to do. They have not ensured the protection and the safety and security of our personnel down there, and that position hasn’t changed. That’s where we stand.

QUESTION: But with all due respect, that’s not what the President said.

MS NAUERT: Well, that’s what the intent was. We’ve not changed our view on that. The administration has not changed its view on that. The investigation remains ongoing. But we’ve also been clear about this, and at the State Department we tend to be super, super, super, super cautious about some of the things we say. But to anyone who knows anything about the Cuban Government and the past of the Cuban Government, it’s hard to imagine that certain things wouldn’t be known that were taking place on that island right there. Okay.

QUESTION: But you do acknowledge, though, that the President --

QUESTION: Regarding the (inaudible), Ms. Nauert.

QUESTION: -- that the President’s comments caused some confusion. I mean, otherwise why did the department feel it necessary to send a cable to all the embassies and consulates around the world titled, “Clarifying the Cuban Stance,” after the comments were made --

MS NAUERT: Well, we always --

QUESTION: -- and in which that cable says specifically that we have not assigned --

MS NAUERT: We always do send out cables that explain any kind of changes in U.S. policy, and my understanding that that cable was anticipated. That was something that we had --

QUESTION: Just coincidence that it was (inaudible)?

MS NAUERT: No, no, no. That is something that we had planned for in working on a cable that would go out across the world to alert people to some of the health concerns and areas and symptoms that people were experiencing. Okay, guys?

QUESTION: But still --

MS NAUERT: We got to leave it there. Thank you.

QUESTION: But hold on. That was – but that last thing you said, though --

MS NAUERT: Yes?

QUESTION: -- and it’s something that you said last Thursday for the first time that it’s a small island and there’s no way that the regime wouldn’t know --

MS NAUERT: Yeah.

QUESTION: Are you now at least implicating that they’re complicit somehow in the attacks?

MS NAUERT: I am not saying that. An investigation is underway, but I will just highlight that people who know about the background of the Cuban Government, it would be hard to imagine that folks wouldn’t know exactly what would be going on with them that’s on borders. Okay?

QUESTION: But that sounds like you’re saying you have someone in Cuba, in the Cuban Government --

MS NAUERT: Guys, I’m going to leave it at that. Okay? Thank you.

The Honorable
Mike Pence
Vice President of the United States

11 October 2017
Naval Observatory
Washington, DC
Hispanic Heritage Month

"US dollars will no longer prop up a monopoly that exploits" Cubans, and added: "Que viva Cuba libre!".

 

Statement By The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of The Republic Of Cuba

On September 29, 2017, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the decision to significantly downscale the diplomatic staff of the US embassy in Havana and withdraw all their relatives, claiming that there had been “attacks” perpetrated against US Government officials in Cuba which have harmed their health.

Once again, on October 3, the US Government, in an unwarranted act, decided that 15 officials of the Cuban Embassy in Washington should depart from the United States, claiming that the US had reduced their diplomatic staffing levels in Havana and that the Cuban Government had failed to take all appropriate steps to prevent “attacks” against them.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly protests and condemns this unfounded and unacceptable decision as well as the pretext used to justify it, for it has been asserted that the Cuban Government did not take the appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of the alleged incidents.

In the meeting that, at the proposal of the Cuban side, was held with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, warned him against the adoption of hasty decisions that were not supported by evidence; urged him not to politicize a matter of this nature and once again required the effective cooperation from the US authorities to clarify facts and conclude the investigation.

It is the second time, after May 23, 2017, that the State Department orders two Cuban diplomats in Washington to abandon the country; that the US Government reacts in a hasty, inappropriate and unthinking way, without having evidence of the occurrence of the adduced facts, for which Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever and before the conclusion of the investigation that is still in progress.

Just as was expressed by the Cuban Foreign Minister to Secretary of State Tillerson on September 26, 2017, Cuba, whose diplomatic staff members have been victims in the past of attempts perpetrated against their lives, who have been murdered, disappeared, kidnapped or attacked during the performance of their duty, has seriously and strictly observed its obligations under the Geneva Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 referring to the protection and integrity of diplomatic agents accredited in the country, in which it has an impeccable record.

As was informed by the Ministry on August 9 last, since February 17, 2017, when the US embassy and State Department notified the alleged occurrence of incidents against some officials of that diplomatic mission and their relatives as from November 2016, arguing that these had caused them injuries and other disorders, the Cuban authorities have acted with utmost seriousness, professionalism and immediacy to clarify this situation and opened an exhaustive and priority investigation following instructions from the top level of the Government. The measures adopted to protect the US diplomatic staff, their relatives and residences were reinforced; new expeditious communication channels were established between the US embassy and the Diplomatic Security Department and a committee of experts was created to make a comprehensive analysis of facts, which was made up by law enforcement officials, physicians and scientists.

In the face of the belated, fragmented and insufficient information supplied by the US, the Cuban authorities requested further information and clarifications from the US embassy in order to carry out a serious and profound investigation.

The US embassy only delivered some data of interest on the alleged incidents after February 21, when President Raúl Castro Ruz personally reiterated to the Chargé d’Affairs of the US diplomatic mission how important it was for the competent authorities from both countries to cooperate and exchange more information. Nevertheless, the data supplied later on continued to be lacking in the descriptions or details that would facilitate the characterization of facts or the identification of potential perpetrators, in case there were any.

In the weeks that followed, in view of new reports on the alleged incidents and the scarce information that had been delivered, the Cuban authorities reiterated the need to establish an effective cooperation and asked the US authorities for more information and insisted that the occurrence of any new incident should be notified in real time, which would provide for a timely action.

Besides all of the above and in the interest of contributing to the investigation and legal process established by virtue of the Cuban Criminal Procedural Law, the US received from Cuba some requests for information as part of the inquiry procedure.

The information delivered by the US authorities led the committee of Cuban experts conclude that this was insufficient and that the main obstacle to clarify the incidents had been the impossibility to have direct access to the injured people and the physicians who examined them; the belated delivery of evidence and their deficient value; the absence of reliable first-handand verifiable information and the inability to exchange with US experts who are knowledgeable about this kind of events and the technology that could have been used, despite having repeatedly stating this as a requirement to be able to move forward in the investigation.

Only after repeated requests were conveyed to the US Government, some representatives of specialized agencies of that country finally traveled to Havana on June last, met with their Cuban counterparts and expressed their intention to cooperate in a more substantive way in the investigation of the alleged incidents.  They again visited Cuba in August and September, and for the first time in more than 50 years they were allowed to work on the ground, for which they were granted all facilities, including the possibility of importing equipment, as a gesture of good will that evidenced the great interest of the Cuban government in concluding the investigation.

The Cuban authorities highly assessed the three visits made by the US specialized agencies ,which have recognized the high professional level of the investigation started by Cuba and its high technical andscientific component, and which, as a preliminary result, concluded that, so far, according to the information available and the data supplied by the United States, there were no evidence of the occurrence ofthe alleged incidents or the causes and the origin of the health disorders reportedby the US diplomats and their relatives.  Neither has it been possible to identify potential perpetrators or persons with motivations, intentions or means to perpetrate this type of actions; nor was it possible to establish the presence of suspicious persons or means at the locations where such facts have been reported or in their vicinity.  The Cuban authorities are not familiar with the equipment or the technology that could be used for that purpose; nor do they have information indicating their presence in the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejects any responsibility of the Cuban Government in the alleged incidents and reiterates once again that Cuba has never perpetrated, nor will it ever perpetrate attacks of any sort against diplomatic officials or their relatives, without any exception. Neither has it ever allowed nor will it ever allow its territory to be used by third parties with that purpose.

The Ministry emphasizes that the US Government announced decision to reduce Cuba’s diplomatic staff in Washington without the conclusive results from the investigation and without evidence of the incidents that would be affecting their officials in Cuba has an eminently political character.

The Ministry urges the competent authorities of the US Government not to continue politicizing this matter, which can provoke an undesirable escalation and would rarify and reverse even more bilateral relations, which were already affected by the announcement of a new policy made in June last by President Donald Trump.

The Ministry reiterates Cuba’s disposition to continue fostering a serious and objective cooperation between the authorities of both countries with the purpose of clarifying these facts and conclude the investigation, for which it will be essential to count on the most effective cooperation of the US competent agencies.

Havana, October 3, 2017.

(Cubaminrex)

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US Department Of State Background Briefing: Cuba Embassy Expulsions

Background Briefing: State Department Official on Cuba

Special Briefing
State Department Official
Via Teleconference

October 3, 2017

MODERATOR: Good morning. And thanks, everyone, for joining us for our Cuba call. We’re joined again this week by [State Department Official]. But I’d like to remind you that this call is on background. It will be attributable to a State Department official. This call will also be embargoed until 11 a.m. Eastern Time today. I know you’re all anxious to get started, so with that, I’ll turn it over to [State Department Official].

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Thank you, [Moderator]. Good morning. This morning, the Department of State informed the Government of Cuba it was ordering the departure of 15 of its officials from its embassy in Washington, D.C. This move does not signal a change of policy or determination of responsibility for the attacks on U.S. Government personnel in Cuba. We are maintaining diplomatic relations with Havana. The decision on expulsions was taken due to Cuba’s inability to protect our diplomats in Havana, as well as to ensure equity in the impact on our respective operations.

As you know, on September 29th, the department ordered the departure of nonemergency personnel assigned to the U.S. embassy in Havana, as well as all family members. Investigations into the attacks are ongoing, as investigators have been unable to determine who or what is causing these attacks.

Regarding the attacks, there are now 22 persons medically confirmed to have experienced health effects due to the attacks on diplomatic personnel in Havana. This information was confirmed yesterday after the decision-making process for the expulsions was well underway. The Cuban Government has told us it will continue its investigation into these attacks, and we will continue to cooperate that – with them in this effort. We will also continue our own investigations into these attacks.

With that, I’m ready to take your questions. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Okay. First question, please. And let’s limit them to one question per reporter; we have a lot of people on the line. Thanks.

OPERATOR: Our first question comes from the line of Matt Spetalnick with Reuters. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes. Thank you very much. Just a couple of quick questions. What would it take in terms of Cuban action to return the U.S. diplomats to Cuba and to allow Cubans back – these 15 to return to the U.S.? Do you have an estimate of the percentage that these 15 make up of the Cuban diplomatic staff in the U.S.? And how much time are you giving the Cubans to leave?

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’re giving the Cubans seven days for their personnel to depart. Are we doing more than one question? Should I ask the last one or the first one?

MODERATOR: Go ahead. Just – keep them tight, please.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: With regard to what it will take to restore operations, we have underscored repeatedly to the Cuban Government its responsibility for the safety, well-being, security, and protection of our diplomatic staff under the Vienna Convention in Havana. We will need full assurances from the Cuban Government that these attacks will not continue before we can even contemplate returning personnel.

MODERATOR: Okay. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question is from Josh Lederman with AP. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hey. Thanks for doing this. Two quick ones: One, can you say what the specific diplomatic action that you’re taking are? Are you PNGing these people? Are you asking the Cubans to pull them, and if they don’t’ pull them then you will PNG them? How precisely is that going to work? And then just second, on this thing, you’re talking about needing full assurances from the Cuban Government. That presupposes that you think the Cuban Government has the ability to put a stop to this if they wanted to. Can you explain – can you square how you’re saying you don’t know who or what is causing this, yet you believe it is within Cuba’s ability to stop it? Thank you.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No. Our position on assurances does not presume Cuban culpability. What it does is require the Cuban Government to be able to fulfill its treaty obligations for the safety, well-being, and protection of foreign diplomats in their country. And until they can give that assurance, our personnel, we have judged, are not safe and secure in the country.

We are expelling the 15 Cubans today. They are not being declared persona non grata. And we expect them to leave within seven days.

MODERATOR: Okay. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: We go to Rich Edson, Fox News Channel. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Good morning, guys. The latest attack was still in August – can you confirm that? Are all the U.S. diplomats who are required to leave Havana and Cuba, have they left? And just a bit on – follow up on what Josh was asking. If these attacks just stop and it’s six months, a year down the road, there’s no determination, would then the United States consider increasing its diplomatic presence in Cuba?

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Rich, I’m not going to talk about hypothetical conditions or timeframes. It just – it’s just not productive at this point. The first question was, again?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) saying are medically affected. Was the latest attack still in August? And are – the U.S. diplomats leaving Cuba, are they all gone?

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. Yeah. So we are in the process of the ordered departure of our staff. It will take us a few days to get everyone out. But we expect everyone to be out by the end of the week. We have given the Cuban Government seven days to depart.

MODERATOR: Okay. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: Felicia Schwartz with The Wall Street Journal, go ahead.

QUESTION: Can you clarify if the 22nd person affected – you mentioned was in August or September. And is the 22 just American government personnel, or does this include any dependents or family members, and have they been affected?

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The 22nd person was – yeah – was a person who suffered an attack in January of this year and who was subsequently re-evaluated based on symptoms and conditions the person was experiencing.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: Michelle Kosinski with CNN, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you. So if you don’t know what caused it, who did it, and the symptoms are different among victims, how do you know it’s an attack? Why are you calling it an attack? And to go back to a previous question someone had asked, asked what percentage this represents of the staff at the Cuban Embassy. Thank you.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The attacks reflect an ongoing series of incidents that are affecting our diplomatic personnel, and they have persisted over a long period of time now that has made it very clear that our people are suffering and are suffering these attacks from some unknown means and method. And the decision to call them attacks reflects that there’s been a consistent pattern of our people being affected, and there’s no other conclusion that we could draw.

I think the issue with regard to the number of Cubans departing is that it ensures that we have equitable staffing levels to allow our embassies to operate. I’m not going to get into the specifics of what the specific percentage is. I don’t know that we have a specific figure.

MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. Next question.

OPERATOR: We go to Carol Morello with Washington Post.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for doing this. Like many other reporters here, I’ve been getting phone calls from people, including physicians, speculating on what the causes were. A couple of physicians have suggested there might be some degree of psychosomatic mass hysteria going on. I was wondering if you’ve ruled that out.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Again, I’m not a medical professional. I know that the medical teams are looking at all of the symptoms and are considering all of the possibilities. But they have been able to confirm the symptoms that we’ve previously described are occurring and our people are demonstrating physical symptoms.

MODERATOR: And next question, please.

OPERATOR: Michele Kelemen with NPR, go ahead.

QUESTION: Yeah. Hi. Do you have specific names of Cubans who you want – who you’re expelling? Or are you leaving that decision up to the Cuban Government on how they should downsize?

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I spoke with the Cuban ambassador this morning at 9 o’clock. We provided a diplomatic note that did provide a list of Cubans. He had some questions as to how this might affect their embassy operations, but yes, we did give them a list.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Next question.

OPERATOR: We go to David Adams with Univision. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Is it true that the Cubans, Bruno Rodriguez, told Secretary of State Tillerson the other day that the Cubans are aware that this was a rogue operation by people inside Cuba, inside its own government services?

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I’m not going to comment on diplomatic conversations. I would refer you to the Secretary’s readout that we issued.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

QUESTION: Hernan Martin with EFE News Service, please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, this is actually Lucia Leal. I wanted to see if you – if the possibility of closing the U.S. embassy in Cuba is out of the table now. And these announcements have come in waves. Why not announce this on Friday, last Friday? Thank you.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I want to – I want to reiterate what I said in my earlier statement. This does not signal a change of policy or a determination of responsibility for the attacks. We are maintaining diplomatic relations with Cuba at this time.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: And we’ll go to Nora Gamez with Miami Herald.

QUESTION: Hi. After this measure, the Cuban embassy will probably also cut its consular services and the family reunification program and visas in Havana are suspended, so family reunification would be severely impacted. What’s the message to Cuban Americans that will not be able to see their families because of this crisis?

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think we are evaluating the impact our reduction of staff will have on those issues, but the Secretary has made clear first and foremost is the safety, security, and well-being of our diplomatic personnel overseas. There will be emergency services that will remain available.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: Next is Francesco Fontemaggi with AFP. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for doing this. Just a quick follow-up on a previous question. Why didn’t you announce your decision last Friday when you announced the recall of your diplomats? Because don’t you feel that this will be taken as an escalation by Cuba if there are more steps and more steps? Thank you.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think this reflects a deliberate process to work through the issues related to this incident. I think first and foremost the Secretary wanted to focus on the safety and well-being of our personnel. Once having made that decision, we then moved on to consider ensuring that there would be an equitable impact in our two embassies’ ability to operate.

OPERATOR: And next we go to Tracy Wilkinson with Los Angeles Times. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you. Hi, [State Department Official]. You said you gave a list of your 15 names to the Cubans. Could you describe generically who these people are? Are these political officers, security officers, anything like that? And you said you didn’t want to give a percentage, but if the U.S. is bringing back, what, half of its staff, was this half of the Cuban staff?

And finally, just the same question that everyone has asked is it’s hard to square expelling Cubans with not blaming the Cubans for these attacks. Thanks.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So again, the – we provided a list of personnel across the Cuban embassy to reflect the fact that we are only leaving emergency personnel in Havana to ensure that both embassy – there’s an equitable impact on both embassies’ operations. I think the percentages are very – roughly very close to each other. And then finally, again, we’re not assigning culpability. This is to ensure that there’s an equitable impact on our embassies’ ability to operate and to underscore to the Cubans that they must take more action to protect our people on the ground if we’re going to have a full range of embassy operations in both capitals.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: Gardiner Harris with New York Times. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m just going to try again that other people have tried – you all said in the Russia tit-for-tat this specific number of embassy personnel and consulate personnel that would be allowed by both countries. Is it that Cuba is now going to be down to 27 people in the United States just like the United States is down to 27 people in Havana? Thanks.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: First, the Russia situation is very distinct from this situation. This is related to the safety and security and well-being of our embassy. We made a decision to move to ordered departure to ensure that only emergency personnel in Havana would remain, and I’m just not going to comment on the exact numbers that will remain in either post.

MODERATOR: Okay. (Inaudible) please.

OPERATOR: Conor Finnegan with ABC News.

QUESTION: Hey, thanks very much for holding the call. I just want to jump back to something you said in response to Tracy’s question. You said the Cubans must take more action. What specifically are you asking them to do if you don’t still know what the cause of these incidents are? Thank you.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Again, I think the conversations focus on the Cuban Government’s responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of diplomatic personnel that they host in their country. It’s not for us to outline a set of criteria for them to ensure that environment. But we are making it clear that the safety and well-being of our people is being affected by these health attacks and we can no longer expose them to the environment down there.

QUESTION: Okay.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: It’s Nick Wadhams with Bloomberg News. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thank you. My question is whether you have any indications this is happening in any other embassies either in the region or around the world, or if you’re taking steps to ensure that doesn’t happen.

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. I’m [State Department Official]. I am not aware of any other incidents in our region that have been reported to us. I can’t comment globally.

MODERATOR: Okay. And --

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I just don’t know.

MODERATOR: And final question, please.

OPERATOR: Steve Dorsey with CBS News Radio.

QUESTION: Hi, good morning. Can you tell us whether any posts from Cuban diplomats besides Washington and the United States are being affected by this move? And just quickly, Scott Hamilton, the head of the U.S. mission to Cuba, in a farewell message said he and his family are leaving this week from Cuba. Who has the State Department placed in charge of the U.S. mission to Cuba?

STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: At this point, Scott Hamilton remains the charge. I don’t have any announcement on whether he’s departing or who would be replacing him.

MODERATOR: Okay. We thank you for joining us. We sure appreciate it. The call is embargoed until 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time today and [State Department Official] will be named, please, as a State Department official. Thank you. We’ll see you later today.

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US Department Of State Expels Fifteen Officials From Cuba's Embassy In Washington

Press Statement
Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

October 3, 2017

On October 3, the Department of State informed the Government of Cuba that it was ordering the departure of 15 of its officials from its embassy in Washington, D.C. The decision was made due to Cuba’s failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention. This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations.

On September 29, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, as well as all family members. Until the Government of Cuba can ensure the safety of our diplomats in Cuba, our embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel to minimize the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm.

We continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and will continue to cooperate with Cuba as we pursue the investigation into these attacks.

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Norwegian Cruise Lines Confirms Its Cuba Shore Excursions & Tour Locations Are Not Controlled By Military

Miami, Florida-based Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings Ltd. (NCL) has confirmed that its "shore excursions and tour locations have been thoroughly evaluated and none are military owned or operated.”

NCL has not published details as to how the process of evaluation was conducted and has not published a list of the shore excursions and tour locations. 

Travel agents and tour operators are expecting the NCL data to be published soon so that prospective travelers may be confident and comfortable with the selections made by NCL.

In June 2016, the Trump Administration announced that it would issue regulations designed to discourage, and in some cases prohibit United States companies from engaging in certain transactions with entities within the Republic of Cuba and individuals subject to United States jurisdiction who visit the Republic of Cuba from engaging in certain transactions with entities within the Republic of Cuba.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the United States Department of Commerce, and the United States Department of State are (were) expected to issue regulations and lists of entities within the Republic of Cuba that are controlled (owned/operated) by the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of the Republic of Cuba.  These entities would be prohibited from engagement.

However, the Trump Administration, through the OFAC and BIS, did issue statements suggesting that existing operational agreements with FAR-controlled entities by airlines, cruise lines, tour operators and travel agents would be permitted to continue.

When Will US Department Of State Publish Addresses In Cuba Of Implicated Locations

Time To See Names & Addresses Of Hotels And Apartment Buildings In Havana

Travelers, Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Airlines & Cruise Lines Need To Know

Given the Travel Warning issued by the United States Department of State on 29 September 2017 was designed to proactively protect individuals subject to United States jurisdiction- by 1) encouraging them not to visit the Republic of Cuba and 2) if visiting the Republic of Cuba appreciating the potentiality of attacks, there is validity for the United States Department of State to immediately publish the locations of all known attacks- residences, hotels, etc.

The United States Department of State defines a Travel Warning:

"We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. We want you to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all. Travel Warnings remain in place until the situation changes; some have been in effect for years."

One hotel has been officially identified as a location of an attack(s): NH Capri in Havana, which is managed by Madrid, Spain-based NH Hotel Group and owned by Republic of Cuba government-operated Grupo Caribe.  

Another property, Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana, managed by Grupo Caribe, has been unofficially reported as a location of an attack(s).

Both NH Capri and Hotel Nacional de Cuba are owned by Grupo Caribe.

If one or both have been confirmed as locations of attacks, why has the United States Department of State not immediately prohibited individuals subject to United States jurisdiction from residing at the properties?  Protection from an unknown.  That would seem prudent given the definition of a Travel Warning and the Republic of Cuba-related statements from the United States Department of State.

In addition, attacks have been confirmed at the residences in Havana of employees of the United States Embassy.  These residences (generally apartments within buildings), primarily located in the Vedado and Miramar districts, are owned by the government of the Republic of Cuba and rented to the government of the United States.

While the United States Department of State may posit that the addresses of the residences are not consequential and distract from the issue, and perhaps violate privacy, there is an argument that the publication of the information supplants any concerns due to the importance (urgency) for travelers to the Republic of Cuba.  It’s reasonable to believe that the United States Department of State will not continue to use the specific residences.  If the information is not published, there is less foundation for the Travel Warning.

Republic of Cuba nationals are hospitable, and often invite visitors to their residences.  With the proliferation of residences within the portfolio of San Francisco, California-based Airbnb, the availability of addresses where there have been reported attacks would assist travelers with proactively determining where they visit while within the Republic of Cuba.

Soon, the United States Department of State will issue a list of locations within the Republic of Cuba that are owned/controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of the Republic of Cuba.  These locations will be prohibited for use by individuals subject to United States jurisdiction.

If important enough for the United States Department of State to publish a list of hotels and restaurants to avoid due to their ownership, then a list of hotels and residence addresses to avoid due to potential health issues would seem far more significant.

With the United States Department of State confirming that they do not know the source(s) of the attacks or the tools used to create the attacks, there is a possibility that travelers could unknowingly encounter the active or residual source(s) or tools of an attack.

Given the denial of responsibility by the government of the Republic of Cuba, unlikely would the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) of the Republic of Cuba object to the release of the addresses. 

Absent full disclosure, the issuance of the Travel Warning unnecessarily maintains a suspect political component which, if left unaddressed, may negatively, with potentially fatal results, have travelers be circumspect of a Travel Warning issued by the United States Department of State for any country. 

The United States Department of State has reported twenty-one (21) individuals subject to United States jurisdiction who are employees (or spouses) of the United States Embassy in Havana, Republic of Cuba, having been impacted by attacks.  The government of Canada has also reported an attack.

According to the United States Department of State: "These employees have suffered significant injuries as a consequence of these attacks. Affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms, including ear complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, balance problems, visual complaints, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping."

There are always moments for both the government of the United States and the government of the Republic of Cuba to be transparent; this is one of those moments. 

COMPLETE TEXT IN PDF FORMAT

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Statement By Government Of The Republic Of Cuba

Statement to the press by General Director for US Affairs, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro

Submitted by editor on Fri, 09/29/2017 - 15:31

Today, we have learned about a media note by the Department of State, informing of the decision of the US Government to draw down their Embassy staff in Havana.

As we informed on the past Tuesday, September 26, in a meeting held that day, at the proposal of the Cuban side, with Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla:

- Advised him not to take any hasty decisions, which are not based on evidences and conclusive investigation results;

- Urged him not to politicize a matter of this nature; and

- Reiterated to him the request for effective cooperation of the US authorities to bring to closure the ongoing investigation on the alleged incidents with US diplomats in Havana.

He underscored that the Government of Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever in the alleged incidents, and that it seriously and strictly observes its obligations under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, with regard to the protection of the integrity of diplomatic agents accredited in the country and of their family members, without exceptions.

We consider that the decision announced by the Department of State is hasty and that it will affect the bilateral relations, specifically, the cooperation in matters of mutual interest and the exchanges on different fields between both countries.

I wish to reaffirm Cuba’s willingness to continue an active cooperation between the authorities of both countries, to fully clarify these incidents, for which purpose a more effective involvement by the United States will be essential.

Havana, September 29, 2017

(Cubaminrex)

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US Department Of State Briefing About Cuba

Press Releases: Senior State Department Officials on Cuba

Special Briefing
Senior State Department Officials Via Teleconference

September 29, 2017

MODERATOR: All right. Good morning, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us for this background call on Cuba. We are pleased today to have [Senior State Department Official One] join us. He will be known as Senior State Department Official One, and then [Senior State Department Official Two] joins us as well. He’s Senior State Department Official Two.

A reminder: This call is embargoed until 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time today. And with that, I’ll let the briefers start. [Senior State Department Official One]?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah, good morning. On September 29th, the Department ordered the departure of nonemergency personnel assigned to the U.S. embassy in Havana, as well as all family members. Over the past several months, at least 21 U.S. embassy employees have been targeted in specific attacks. The health, safety, and well-being of our embassy community are our greatest concerns. Investigations into the attacks are ongoing, as investigators have been unable to determine who or what is causing these attacks.

Until the Government of Cuba can assure the safety of U.S. Government personnel in Cuba, our embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel so as to minimize the number of U.S. Government personnel at risk of exposure. The remaining personnel will carry out core diplomatic and consular functions, including providing emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Cuba. Routine visa operations are suspended indefinitely. Short-term travel by U.S. Government officials to Cuba will also be limited to those involved with the ongoing investigation or who have a need to travel related to the U.S. national security or crucial embassy operations. The United States will not send official delegations to Cuba or conduct bilateral meetings in Cuba for the time being. Meetings may continue in the United States.

The Department will issue a Travel Warning for U.S. citizens not to travel to Cuba, and informing them of our decision to draw down our diplomatic staff. The Travel Warning will note that over the past several months, numerous U.S. embassy employees have been targeted in specific attacks. These employees have suffered significant injuries as a consequence of these attacks. Affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms, including ear complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, balance problems, visual complaints, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping.

The governments of the United States and Cuba have not yet identified the responsible party, but the Government of Cuba is responsible for taking all appropriate steps to prevent attacks on our diplomatic personnel in Cuba. Because our personnel’s safety is at risk and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe that U.S. citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba. The Travel Warning will advise U.S. travelers the reduction of staffing at the embassy would impact its ability to offer many routine services to U.S. citizens. Emergency services will still be provided.

I want to stress that the decision to reduce our diplomatic presence in Havana was made to ensure the safety of our personnel. We maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba and our work in Cuba continues to be guided by the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. We are continuing our investigation into the attacks and the Cuba – the Cuban Government has told us they will continue their efforts as well. We acknowledge the efforts the Cuban Government has made to investigate and its cooperation in facilitating the U.S. investigation, but we have members of our embassy community who have suffered physical harm due to these ongoing attacks in Havana, most recently in late August. The Cuban Government is obligated under the Vienna Convention to take all appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in Cuba.

With that, I’m happy to answer your questions.

OPERATOR: Thank you. And once again, ladies and gentlemen, if you do have a question, please press *1 on your phone.

MODERATOR: Okay. Let’s start with the first question, please.

OPERATOR: That question will come from Elise Labott with CNN. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Thanks very much for doing this call. Two questions. First of all, I know you said that you do not know who is responsible. Have you ruled out that possibly a third country could be involved? Specifically, the Russians have had some experience with these type of incidents over the – over history and have maintained a very close relationship with Cuba, so I know that there’s been some suspicion. But are you ruling out a third country?

And then, secondly, you said that Americans could be at risk. It doesn’t seem as if the ambassador or maybe like the very top people in the embassy were targeted. So why do you think that Americans are at risk, and what would you say to – obviously, you need to protect your personnel, but what would you say to those who are concerned that by warning Americans not to go there, this is more of a political – politicization of it?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: We have not ruled out the possibility of a third country as a part of the investigation, but that investigation continues and will continue irrespective of the ordered departure. We will continue to investigate this – these attacks and to get to the bottom of them.

With regard to the threat to American citizens, the – there’s no more important mission for the State Department or a U.S. embassy overseas than to protect and advise Americans on potential threats to their safety, health, and well-being. The fact that some of these attacks have occurred in hotels where American citizens could be at and that we have no way of advising American citizens on how they could mitigate such attacks, we felt we must warn them on not to travel to Cuba until we understand and know more about the source and means and ways to mitigate these attacks that are occurring.

MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. Let’s please keep your questions to one per person. We have a lot of people on the call and want to make sure we get around.

Next question, please.

OPERATOR: And that question will come from Andrea Mitchell with NBC. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: When you say that the Cuban Government is cooperating, can you give us any more information about whether or not their offer to have the FBI go has been responded to, whether the FBI is on the ground in Havana? Who is investigating this for the U.S. Government in Havana and how far along has the investigation come? What – how would you describe the status of the investigation?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I would describe the cooperation that the Cuban Government has given to our efforts to understand what is happening in this – these attacks to have been ongoing, and we expect it to continue. With respect to questions related to the investigation, I would refer you to the Department of Justice.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: That will come from Rich Edson with Fox News Channel. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Good morning. Was the Secretary seriously considering closing the embassy? And are there any reports of non-government employees affected? Any sense that the attackers know specifically who they are attacking? Are they targeting senior employees or intelligence personnel over others?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: The first question – the evaluation to go to ordered departure took a look at our entire embassy operation and we are moving to an ordered departure that retains emergency staff so that we can provide basic services to American citizens and fulfill our diplomatic mission. With respect to whether there are any reports to American citizens, we are not aware of any American citizens; reports have been made to us, the Department of State. But nonetheless, given the significance of these attacks and the fact that they’ve occurred in hotels, we believe without any means to mitigate them we must warn American citizens not to travel to Cuba.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question is from Michele Kelemen with NPR. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Yeah, hi. I’m wondering if you can give us a sense of how big the ordered departure is. Is it more than half of the embassy? And then is the U.S. also expelling any Cubans, or is there any follow-up on that? Is there – are you satisfied with the Cuban assurances that they haven’t carried out these attacks?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: The ordered departure will result in more than half of the embassy footprint being reduced. The – I’m sorry, could you repeat the second part of that question?

QUESTION: Are you asking Cubans to send anybody home?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I have nothing to report on that – on that issue at this time.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question comes from Margaret Brennan with CBS News. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for doing this call. My question is you pointed out that these attacks appeared to have stopped in August. Do you see that in some way as a success that after you have raised concerns and shown that you have knowledge of what’s going on that these attacks appeared to have stopped? And can you explain why you use the word “targeted” in describing these attacks? You haven’t really said who was targeted, but why do you think that this is, in fact, intentional, and who has been targeted?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: First, I don’t believe I said the attacks have stopped. I believe I said that the last reported attacks were in August. I think because of our concern for the safety and well-being of our staff, that is why we’re going to ordered departure. We don’t know the means, the methods, or how these attacks are being carried out, and so I could not characterize them as having stopped in August.

Separately, targeted in the sense – only in the sense that 21 of our diplomats have suffered from these different attacks, and it does appear that U.S. embassy personnel are most at risk. But we cannot rule out, given the nature of these attacks, that the American public traveling in Cuba might not also be at risk as well.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question is from Conor Finnegan with ABC News. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hey, thanks very much for holding the call. Previously we’ve referred to what’s going on in Cuba as “incidents,” and now you’re using the term “attacks.” I’m wondering why the change in terminology. And among the many injuries that you had listed you didn’t mention traumatic brain injury, which the American Foreign Service Union has mentioned. So are you denying that TBI is one of the symptoms that American diplomats have had? Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: The Secretary of State has said very clearly that these are health attacks and they are affecting the health and safety and well-being of our staff. I’ve listed out the physical symptoms that have been present – presented. I don’t think it’s in my competence to describe a medical diagnosis or specific syndromes or conditions.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question is from Felicia Schwartz with Wall Street Journal. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Thanks for holding the call. Can you talk a little bit more about the meeting that Secretary Tillerson had with his Cuban counterpart earlier this week? Did the Secretary tell him that this would be coming? Did the Cuban foreign minister try to convince the Secretary otherwise? Did he try to guarantee the safety of American diplomats? Were you not satisfied with those conversations?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I’d refer you both to our readout of the conversation and the Cuban readout of those conversations, which I think actually captured both sides’ conversation.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: And just as a quick reminder, if you do have a question, please press *1 at this time. Our next question comes from Carol Morello with Washington Post. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for doing this. Say, so you mentioned this happened in hotels. I’m wondering if anyone other than diplomats has been affected, like any other guests that you’re aware of and maybe some of the diplomats who have been living in the hotels, if that’s possible. If you could give us some idea of whether it’s only diplomats in hotels and if they’ve been living there, and if any Cuban staff at the embassy have been injured. Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: The staff who were affected at hotels were temporary duty staff at the embassy. I will let my colleague answer as to whether we have any staff resident at the hotel. I do think there are times when people are arriving and leaving that they may be out of living quarters, that they might be in the hotel, so I don’t want to say definitively people don’t live there, because there’s transition periods. But there have been attacks at the hotel. They have been – they have involved our U.S. personnel, and that’s what I know.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: I would just add we’re not aware of any hotel staff or other individuals who have been attacked or suffered these systems beyond the U.S. Government personnel at the hotel. And in terms of our Cuban staff at the embassy, we’re not aware of any incidents involving them or attacks involving them. The victims that we’re aware of are the 21 U.S. Government personnel.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question is from Francesco Fontemaggi with AFP. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for doing this. Can you tell us when and how the Cuban authorities were informed of your decision, and even if you say that you maintain relation with Cuba, don’t you feel that there could be consequences given they say they will respond to that decision while withdrawing some personnel from Cuban embassy in the States? Thank you?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: We have repeatedly throughout this process had conversations with the Cuban Government at different levels, both in Havana and in Washington, and communicated our concerns to them. I want to clarify perhaps this characterization on my part. The accurate readout is the readout we issued of the meeting. The Cuban – I refer you to the Cuban statement for their characterization of the meeting, which reflects their views and may not – which we may not necessarily agree with in total. But we have – we do have areas of disagreement with the statement.

MODERATOR: Okay. [Senior State Department Official One], you have to go with --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah, I do.

MODERATOR: Okay. So [Senior State Department Official One] needs to run. Our [Senior State Department Official Two] will take over. [Senior State Department Official One], thank you so much. I know you have a lot of calls and a lot of work to do today.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Yep, thank you.

MODERATOR: Okay, folks, stand by one second. Okay, [Senior State Department Official Two]. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: And that’ll come from the line of Gardiner Harris with New York Times. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hey guys, thanks for doing this. Maybe you can clarify the – what you think the Cuban Government’s role or not role or have you ruled out the idea that – in other words, do you know definitively that this is a Cuban Government operation? Do you have reason to suspect that it’s not a Cuban Government operation? That would help us explain why you’re not kicking out Cuban Government officials in the United States and you’re not taking more sort of punitive actions against the Cuban Government.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah, no, no, thanks. As [Senior State Department Official One] mentioned, the investigation continues, but at this moment we don’t have definitive answers on the source or cause of the attacks. And so I really can’t speculate on engagement or not by Cubans or others parties. The investigation’s ongoing and we will see where the facts lead us in terms of cause or source.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question is from Krishnadev Calamur with The Atlantic. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Thanks for doing this. If American diplomats have been at risk, why aren’t you removing everyone?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: There was a careful analysis of both the risk and the estimate of what would be needed to reduce that risk, and one of the measures that was considered prudent was to considerably resist – reduce the number of people present, thereby reducing the exposure – individuals who could be subject to these attacks. And so this was seen as a major step towards addressing some of our vulnerabilities and reducing our exposure.

MODERATOR: Next question.

OPERATOR: That question comes from the line of Bill Faries with Bloomberg. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hey, good morning. Thanks for hosting this call. You say that you’re going to be suspending routine visa operations at the embassy in Havana. How many of those procedures would you typically be carrying out in a month? I’m just trying to get a sense of how many – how many people, how many Cubans, I guess, this affects. And is there anything more you’re doing on the U.S. side besides the warning to limit U.S. citizen travel to Cuba?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: I mean, the travel warning is to advise Americans on the risk if they travel to Cuba, and that’s what we’re putting out at this time. We can get you the numbers on a monthly basis in terms of the number of visas that were issued at post. I don’t have that with me right here today.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Next question.

QUESTION: That question comes from the line of Steve Dorsey with CBS News Radio. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Thanks for taking my question. I just want to protest why this call isn’t on the record considering there’s no State Department on-camera briefing today. I do want to ask what measures on the ground in Cuba the State Department is taking besides the withdrawal of staffers from the embassy. Is there more security? Are they being placed in different residences? What other measures are being taken?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah, no, we don’t discuss our security postures or security measures.

MODERATOR: Okay. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question comes from Nike Ching with Voice of America. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you so much for doing this. My question has been addressed. Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from Franco Ordonez with McClatchy. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for doing the call. I wanted to ask you, is there any more information that you can provide on what is – is this a device? What is the technology that you guys are researching that could produce some of this? Also, I was hoping you could provide a little bit more information on what jobs or what position will be staying in Havana. I know non-emergency will be leaving, so what – what are the roles that will be staying and how will those people be protected?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: As I mentioned, we continue to investigate the attacks in Havana. At this stage, we still do not have definitive answers on source or cause of the attacks. I don’t want to get into speculating about types of technology or research or get into the details of our investigation at this point, so can’t go into that details.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question is from John Hudson with BuzzFeed News. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks. Just following up on that, there’s obviously been a lot of speculation about the sonic device or acoustic device. Is that – and some audio experts have been brought in in the public to sort of address the plausibility of that. Do investigators still believe that that would be a plausible device related to these illnesses?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: As I mentioned, the investigation continues and we don’t have any definitive conclusions regarding cause, source, or any kind of technologies that might be engaged or might not have been used.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: And the next question is from Sarah Marsh with Reuters. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. I’m wondering what kind of visas you’ll still be processing in Havana and how Cubans will be able to seek visas for the U.S. generally.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: (Inaudible) is make available – and we’re looking at the possibility of people being able to apply for visas at embassies or consulates outside of Cuba in other countries. But we haven’t actually made definitive arrangements yet. We’re continuing to look at that. But all of the kind of regular visas or ordinary visas would not be issued through Havana.

MODERATOR: Next question.

OPERATOR: That question comes from the line of Michele Kosinski with CNN. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thank you. I know you don’t want to speculate, but I’m just wondering your change in terminology from “incidents” to “attacks” in a day’s time. Does that rule out, then, that this was something related to surveillance equipment, which would be an – having unintentional consequences of hurting these staffers? And also, the people who are left in Cuba, are they not at risk or are they at risk? Thanks.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah, no, in terms of technology, again, I would say the investigation’s not reached definitive conclusions on any, again, source, cause, type of technology that may or may not have been employed. So I’m not going to comment or speculate on what’s been ruled out or ruled in. I think the investigators are looking at the whole range of possibilities.

The purpose of the ordered departure is to reduce the numbers of Americans who are vulnerable to exposure from these possible – from further attacks or possible future attacks. The individuals at post – it does not mean that they are not risk, but by reducing the overall numbers of people, we have substantially reduced the number of people at risk and therefore reduced the exposure of the U.S. Government personnel.

MODERATOR: Okay. Thanks, folks. We’re going to have to end the call, and as a note at the end, I’d like to say that the Secretary, we expect, will be addressing this later in a statement today. He will be on the record. We feel that it’s important for the Secretary to make his firm position known, and that is why this call is on background. We will await the Secretary’s statement and we will put that out through our normal channels. Again, this call is embargoed until 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, Senior State Department Official One and Senior State Department Official Two. Thank you so much and we’ll talk to you real soon.

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US Department Of State Issues Travel Warning For Cuba; Impact May Be Severe

What is a Travel Warning?

From United States Department of State: Travel Warnings

"We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. We want you to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all. Travel Warnings remain in place until the situation changes; some have been in effect for years."

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/cuba-travel-warning.html

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens not to travel to Cuba.  Over the past several months, numerous U.S. Embassy Havana employees have been targeted in specific attacks. These employees have suffered significant injuries as a consequence of these attacks. Affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms including ear complaints and hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping.

The Governments of the United States and Cuba have not yet identified the responsible party, but the Government of Cuba is responsible for taking all appropriate steps to prevent attacks on our diplomatic personnel and U.S. citizens in Cuba. Because our personnel's safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe U.S. citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba. Attacks have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens. On September 29, the Department ordered the departure of nonemergency U.S. government employees and their family members to protect the safety of our personnel.

Due to the drawdown in staff, the U.S. Embassy in Havana has limited ability to assist U.S. citizens. The Embassy will provide only emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens in Cuba in need of emergency assistance should contact the Embassy by telephone at +(53)(7) 839-4100 or the Department of State at 1-202-501-4444. U.S. citizens should not attempt to go to the U.S. Embassy as it suffered severe flood damage during Hurricane Irma.

Travelers should apprise family and friends in the United States of their whereabouts, and keep in close contact with their travel agency and hotel staff.

For further information:

Western Hemisphere: Actions Taken in Response to Attacks on U.S. Government Personnel in Cuba

Remarks
Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

September 29, 2017

Over the past several months, 21 U.S. Embassy employees have suffered a variety of injuries from attacks of an unknown nature. The affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms, including ear complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping. Investigators have been unable to determine who is responsible or what is causing these attacks.

On September 29, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, as well as all family members. Until the Government of Cuba can ensure the safety of our diplomats in Cuba, our Embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel in order to minimize the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm.

In conjunction with the ordered departure of our diplomatic personnel, the Department has issued a Travel Warning advising U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Cuba and informing them of our decision to draw down our diplomatic staff. We have no reports that private U.S. citizens have been affected, but the attacks are known to have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens. The Department does not have definitive answers on the cause or source of the attacks and is unable to recommend a means to mitigate exposure.

The decision to reduce our diplomatic presence in Havana was made to ensure the safety of our personnel. We maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and our work in Cuba continues to be guided by the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. Cuba has told us it will continue to investigate these attacks and we will continue to cooperate with them in this effort.

The health, safety, and well-being of our Embassy community is our greatest concern. We will continue to aggressively investigate these attacks until the matter is resolved.

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If Insurance Companies Deny Coverage For Cuba, Travel and Commerce Will Be Crippled.

If Insurance Companies Deny Coverage For Cuba, Travel and Commerce Will Be Crippled.

Potentially, the most commercially consequential impact of the decision by the Trump Administration, specifically the United States Department of State, to issue a warming relating to travel to the Republic of Cuba by individuals subject to United States jurisdiction is upon insurance.

An insurance company may use the warning as a basis for reducing or eliminating or denying coverage to individuals, aircraft, vessels, and businesses (hotel management companies, tour operators, travel agents, etc.) with any connectivity relating to the Republic of Cuba.  For publicly-held companies, this is immensely problematic.  

An insurance company may prohibit individuals subject to United States jurisdiction from residing at the NH Capri, which is managed by Madrid, Spain-based NH Hotel Group and owned by Republic of Cuba government-operated Grupo Caribe.  And, there may be an extension to other properties managed by NH Hotel Group and, separately, those owned by Grupo Caribe, which would include the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana among others.

If this happens, existing commercial and economic activity between the United States and the Republic of Cuba would be reduced to a flicker…. and potentially extinguished.

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Why Were The Visits Dearth? Normally, There Would Have Been Something Reported...

Traditionally, the visit to the United States by the minister of foreign affairs of a country would provide an opportunity for representatives of the United States business community, representatives of non-profit and other types of organizations, officials of state governments, and members of the United States Congress to meet; with at least some of those interactions publicized by either the host government or the guest; or not deliberately publicized, but reported nonetheless.

During the last week, H.E. Bruno Rodriguez, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, and Mrs. Josefina de la Caridad Vidal Ferreiro, the outgoing Director General of the Department of the United States at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, visited New York City and Washington DC.

On 26 September 2017, Minister Rodriguez met with The Honorable Rex Tillerson, United States Secretary of State, in Washington DC.

On 19 September 2017, Mrs. Vidal participated in a bilateral meeting at the United States Department of State in Washington DC.

There is no published information as to meetings with representatives of the United States business community, no published information as to meetings with representatives of organizations, no published information as to meetings with officials of state governments, and no published information as to meetings with Members of Congress.

A primary component of the dearth of public engagement relating to United States companies has its roots in 2016 and flourished in 2017. 

Principally, the reasons are what the Obama Administration and the Castro Administration failed to implement relating to commerce- not enough authorized by either government which created a landscape for the Trump Administration to be disruptive.

Equally consequential is no absolution by the United States Department of State as to responsibility of the government of the Republic of Cuba from sharing its knowledge about the source(s) of the health issues and/or having been proactive with a third party to render any actions harmless.  The subject remains toxic for United States companies and Members of Congress.

As a result, the continuing bilateral ambiguity, which is exceedingly negative in all respects, with a specific concentration on commerce, will likely continue, unabated, at least through 24 February 2018, the retirement of H.E. General Raul Castro, President of the Republic of Cuba. 

The issues relating to:

1) the health of United States nationals with diplomatic status at the United States Embassy in Havana, issues which commenced in 2016 and the undetermined response by the Obama Administration;

2) the non-publicized (either by the Trump Administration or Castro Administration) expulsion in May 2017 of two diplomats accredited to the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Washington DC; the Trump Administration uncharacteristically did not take credit in May 2017 for action not taken by the Obama Administration;

3) the continued support by the government of the Republic of Cuba for and benefits received from the government of Venezuela;

4) the continued commercial, economic and political outreach by the government of the Republic of Cuba to the People's Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Russian Federation;

5) and the pending issuance by the Trump Administration of new and revised regulations and policies for individuals and companies relating to travel to and transactions with Republic of Cuba government-operated entities;

will further negatively impact an already corrosive commercial, economic and political bilateral environment.  Any expectation of changes to statutes by the United States Congress is currently illusionary.  

The interest by United States companies will likely (and tragically) continue to deteriorate unless the government of the Republic of Cuba accepts significant components of the Obama Administration initiatives and does so quickly; and it might be too late for that....

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US Airlines Taking The Gloves Off For Available (And New) Routes To Cuba

Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines, Atlanta, Georgia-based Delta Air Lines, Long Island City, New York-based Jet Blue Airways, Dallas, Texas-based Southwest Airlines and Chicago, Illinois-based United Airlines are each seeking routes abandoned by Denver, Colorado-based Frontier Airlines and Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Silver Airways, and Miramar, Florida-based Spirit Airlines; and Memphis, Tennessee-based Federal Express Airlines is seeking a daily cargo operation from Miami International Airport to Jose Marti International Airport (MIA-HAV):

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/3/13/frontier-airlines-ending-mia-hav-route-on-4-june-2017?rq=Frontier%20Airlines

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/3/13/silver-airways-suspending-cuba-service-on-22-april-2017-may-seek-frontiers-mia-hav-route?rq=Silver

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/4/15/spirit-airlines-is-third-us-carrier-to-cease-us-cuba-operations?rq=Silver

Previously, Southwest Airlines discussed reducing and/or eliminating service from the United States to the Republic of Cuba.

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/5/19/southwest-airlines-ceo-speaks-of-pulling-the-plug-on-non-havana-flights?rq=Silver

Jet Blue Airways is seeking a new route, one that it first sought in 2016, from Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, to Havana, Republic of Cuba:

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/4/22/what-does-jetblue-know-or-doesnt-know-seeking-additional-routes-to-cuba?rq=Silver

If granted, the flight will have symbolism for the Trump Administration:

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/5/18/nez9vv71hkndkzexqe9nfgmq8u2ish?rq=Jet%20Blue

The Consolidated Replies by the airlines as submitted on 26 September 2017 to the United States Department of Transportation (Order by DOT):

American Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Federal Express Corporation
Jet Blue Airways
Southwest Airlines
United Airlines (joint with Mesa Airlines)

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US Food/AG Exports To Cuba Increase 21%

ECONOMIC EYE ON CUBA©
September 2017

July 2017 Food/Ag Exports To Cuba Increased 21%- 1
No Healthcare Product Exports- 2
Humanitarian Donations US$392,084.00- 2
Obama Administration Initiatives Product Exports- 3
U.S. Port Export Data- 13

JULY 2017 FOOD/AG EXPORTS TO CUBA INCREASED 21%- Exports of food products & agricultural commodities from the United States to the Republic of Cuba in July 2017 were US$24,379,155.00 compared to US$20,227,854.00 in July 2016 and US$3,342,526.00 in July 2015.  

Exporters in July 2017 included: Atlanta, Georgia-based AJC International (poultry); Atlanta, Georgia-based Intervision Foods (poultry); Bedford, Massachusetts-based Sellari Enterprises (poultry); Park Ridge, Illinois-based Koch Foods (poultry); Little Rock, Arkansas-based Mountaire Farms (poultry); Salisbury, Maryland-based Perdue Agribusiness (soybeans); Wellesley, Massachusetts-based Grove Services (poultry).

COMPLETE REPORT IN PDF FORMAT

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President Trump Mentions Cuba Twice During Speech At United Nations

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 19, 2017

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP

TO THE 72ND SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

United Nations

New York, New York
 
EXCERPTS.....

That is why in the Western Hemisphere, the United States has stood against the corrupt and destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom.  My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms.

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.  (Applause.)  From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.  Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.

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Lavazza From Italy & Nespresso From Switzerland Vie For Cuba's Coffee Production/Exports

Turin, Italy-based Luigi Lavazza S.p.A. (2016 revenues exceeded US$1.6 billion) has joined Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle SA (2016 revenues approximately US$94 billion) in seeking to increase the production, quality, and export opportunities for coffee beans sourced in the Republic of Cuba.

From the company: 

“The Lavazza Foundation (http://www.lavazza.us/us/about-lavazza/sustainability-report/ ) is starting in Cuba a three-year project stems from a close collaboration with the local Cuban authorities. The project, in collaboration with Oxfam, enhance the training capacity of “School Centres” and the output of the Centres for grafting coffee plants in Cuba contributing to the sustainability, increased yield and quality of coffee plants in the country’s two eastern provinces, Granma and Santiago de Cuba, while improving the conditions of coffee producers in the area of interest.  Specific goals are: 

1. Increasing the production of quality coffee plants by creating ten production centres that contribute to the recovery of areas with limited production, while also supporting greater participation by women and young people in the agricultural sector.

2. Increasing producers’ and technicians’ knowledge of the coffee supply chain through the 34 "School Centres."

3. Strengthening the coffee supply chain while improving the living conditions of the rural population in the selected communities, and in particular those of the women involved.”

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2016/6/20/nespresso-to-indirectly-import-coffee-from-cuba-to-usa?rq=Nespresso

Nestle Nespresso To Indirectly Import Coffee From Cuba To USA
June 20, 2016

20 June 2016: New York, New York- Nestle Nespresso, the worldwide pioneer and reference in premium single-serve coffee, announced today it will bring back Cuban coffee to the United States for the first time in more than 50 years.

Recent regulatory changes in the United States have allowed Nespresso to move forward with its plans, which include making the new Cuban Nespresso Grand Cru, Cafecito de Cuba, available in the United States in the fall of 2016, initially as a limited edition. Over the long term, Nespresso and its partner TechnoServe, a nonprofit development organization, will explore how to work with smallholder coffee farmers in Cuba with the goal ultimately being to support farmers in their production of sustainable coffee and contribute to expanded economic opportunities for them in the long-term.

For more than two centuries, Cuba has produced some of the greatest Arabica coffee in the world. With fertile soil and ideal climate conditions, the country offers an excellent coffee growing environment. Nespresso is purchasing Arabica coffee this year that has been produced by Cuban farmers, and aims to continue purchasing it in the coming years.

“At Nespresso, we always aim to delight consumers through exclusive, unique coffee experiences,” said Guillaume Le Cunff, President Nespresso USA. “Nespresso is thrilled to be the first to bring this rare coffee to the U.S., allowing consumers to rediscover this distinct coffee profile. Over the long-term, we have a view to supporting the development of environmentally sustainable coffee farming practices for smallholder farmers which benefit the farmers themselves and their communities. Ultimately, we want consumers in the U.S. to experience this incredible coffee and to enjoy it now and for years to come.”

The U.S. Department of State in late April updated its list of goods produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs that can be imported into the United States to include coffee. This change paved the way for Nespresso to offer Cuban coffee to the U.S. market.

Nespresso’s approach to sustainability is embedded in its business practices and focuses on initiatives that preserve the environment for future generations and create shared value for all stakeholders and society. Nespresso has extensive experience working closely with coffee farmers to improve productivity and create attractive income opportunities for them. Through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, which was developed with the Rainforest Alliance, Nespresso works with farmers, providing support, training, financing and technical assistance to improve sustainability and productivity while maintaining quality.

Next Stop For Cuban Coffee May Be Blue Bottle Coffee... Another Connection For Nestle
September 15, 2017

With it's majority-control purchase (reportedly US$425 million for 68%) of Oakland, California-based Blue Bottle Coffee, Nestle may have an additional distribution channel for its imports of coffee beans from the Republic of Cuba...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/15/business/dealbook/nestle-blue-bottle-coffee.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbusiness&action=click&contentCollection=business&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront

http://www.cubatrade.org/search?q=Nespresso

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/5/12/n6fras0d0v3uri8jlx8w0s1t2vx6vh?rq=Nespresso

Nestle Nespresso

In 2016, the Obama Administration added coffee to the list of eligible imports from the Republic of Cuba.  

To be eligible for importation into the United States, a listed Cuban Assets Control Regulations (31 CFR Part 515) Section 515.582 product (in this case coffee) must be “produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs, as demonstrated by documentary evidence.”

From the United States Department of State: “Persons subject to US jurisdiction engaging in import transactions involving goods produced by an independent Cuban entrepreneur pursuant to 515.582 must obtain documentary evidence that demonstrates the entrepreneur's independent status, such as a copy of a license to be self-employed issued by the Cuban government, or in the case of an entity, evidence that demonstrates that the entity is a private entity that is not owned or controlled by the Cuban government.”

In 2016, New York, New York-based Nestle Nespresso USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle SA (2016 revenues approximately US$94 billion), purchased a container of approximately eighteen (18) tons of green coffee beans through London, United Kingdom-based Cubana Coffee & Roastery (www.cubana.co.uk), the established bar-restaurant and coffee roasting group, and London, United Kingdom-based The Cuba Mountain Coffee Company Ltd (www.almacuba.com).  

The green coffee beans were sourced from the 2015-2016 harvest in the Republic of Cuba; the value was approximately US$5,000.00 per metric ton, or approximately US$90,000.00.  

The beans were roasted at Nestle Nespresso facilities in Avenches and nearby Orbe, Switzerland.  With approximately 20% lost during the roasting process, the result was approximately 180,000 capsules per ton- 3,240,000 limited edition Cafecito de Cuba capsules (approximately 5 to 6 grams each or .17 to .21 ounces).  The price for a limited-edition capsule was approximately US$1.10, so potential total revenue could be approximately US$3,564,000.00.

Nestle Nespresso USA, Inc., obtained additional green coffee beans from the 2016-2017 harvest in the Republic of Cuba and continues to produce capsules for distribution throughout the world, including in the United States.

Coffee beans from the Republic of Cuba could also become an ingredient for infused ice creams: Oakland, California-based Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings, Inc., and Oakland, California-based Edy’s Grand Ice Cream are wholly-owned by Nestle SA; and Oakland, California-based Haagen-Dazs is distributed by Nestle SA.

Nestle SA is positioning itself to be an importer to the United States of confections, coffee, ice cream, beverages, and other consumables sourced in the Republic of Cuba.  

Nestle SA has a multi-decade interest in the Republic of Cuba.  The company has a representative office in the city of Havana.  Since the 1990's, Nestle S.A. has been involved with Republic of Cuba government-operated companies to develop the confection industry (a twenty-year joint venture producing ice cream); has investments in bottled water production (Ciego Montero) and beverage production; and imports products for sale at retail stores.  In 2014, Nestle Nespresso released “Limited Edition Cubanía; Inspired by the passion and intensity of Cuban coffee ritual” that did not contain coffee from the Republic of Cuba.  In 2016, "Cuban Nespresso Grand Cru Cafecito de Cuba" capsule (which would include coffee from the Republic of Cuba) was to be available outside of the United States, but with the 22 April 2016 changes in United States regulations, the opportunity was created to add the United States to global distribution channels.

In 2017, Nestle SA reported the company would invest approximately US$55 million to create a joint venture (of which it will own 51%) potentially employing 300 Republic of Cuba nationals to source ingredients for and to produce coffee, biscuits and cooking products.  Completion date is by 2019.  Other Nestle SA production facilities are being considered for expansion.

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Next Stop For Cuban Coffee May Be Blue Bottle Coffee... Another Connection For Nestle

With it's majority-control purchase (reportedly US$425 million for 68%) of Oakland, California-based Blue Bottle Coffee, Nestle may have an additional distribution channel for its imports of coffee beans from the Republic of Cuba...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/15/business/dealbook/nestle-blue-bottle-coffee.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbusiness&action=click&contentCollection=business&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront

http://www.cubatrade.org/search?q=Nespresso

http://www.cubatrade.org/blog/2017/5/12/n6fras0d0v3uri8jlx8w0s1t2vx6vh?rq=Nespresso

Nestle Nespresso

In 2016, the Obama Administration added coffee to the list of eligible imports from the Republic of Cuba.  

To be eligible for importation into the United States, a listed Cuban Assets Control Regulations (31 CFR Part 515) Section 515.582 product (in this case coffee) must be “produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs, as demonstrated by documentary evidence.”

From the United States Department of State: “Persons subject to US jurisdiction engaging in import transactions involving goods produced by an independent Cuban entrepreneur pursuant to 515.582 must obtain documentary evidence that demonstrates the entrepreneur's independent status, such as a copy of a license to be self-employed issued by the Cuban government, or in the case of an entity, evidence that demonstrates that the entity is a private entity that is not owned or controlled by the Cuban government.”

In 2016, New York, New York-based Nestle Nespresso USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle SA (2016 revenues approximately US$94 billion), purchased a container of approximately eighteen (18) tons of green coffee beans through London, United Kingdom-based Cubana Coffee & Roastery (www.cubana.co.uk), the established bar-restaurant and coffee roasting group, and London, United Kingdom-based The Cuba Mountain Coffee Company Ltd (www.almacuba.com).  

The green coffee beans were sourced from the 2015-2016 harvest in the Republic of Cuba; the value was approximately US$5,000.00 per metric ton, or approximately US$90,000.00.  

The beans were roasted at Nestle Nespresso facilities in Avenches and nearby Orbe, Switzerland.  With approximately 20% lost during the roasting process, the result was approximately 180,000 capsules per ton- 3,240,000 limited edition Cafecito de Cuba capsules (approximately 5 to 6 grams each or .17 to .21 ounces).  The price for a limited-edition capsule was approximately US$1.10, so potential total revenue could be approximately US$3,564,000.00.

Nestle Nespresso USA, Inc., obtained additional green coffee beans from the 2016-2017 harvest in the Republic of Cuba and continues to produce capsules for distribution throughout the world, including in the United States.

Coffee beans from the Republic of Cuba could also become an ingredient for infused ice creams: Oakland, California-based Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings, Inc., and Oakland, California-based Edy’s Grand Ice Cream are wholly-owned by Nestle SA; and Oakland, California-based Haagen-Dazs is distributed by Nestle SA.

Nestle SA is positioning itself to be an importer to the United States of confections, coffee, ice cream, beverages, and other consumables sourced in the Republic of Cuba.  

Nestle SA has a multi-decade interest in the Republic of Cuba.  The company has a representative office in the city of Havana.  Since the 1990's, Nestle S.A. has been involved with Republic of Cuba government-operated companies to develop the confection industry (a twenty-year joint venture producing ice cream); has investments in bottled water production (Ciego Montero) and beverage production; and imports products for sale at retail stores.  In 2014, Nestle Nespresso released “Limited Edition Cubanía; Inspired by the passion and intensity of Cuban coffee ritual” that did not contain coffee from the Republic of Cuba.  In 2016, "Cuban Nespresso Grand Cru Cafecito de Cuba" capsule (which would include coffee from the Republic of Cuba) was to be available outside of the United States, but with the 22 April 2016 changes in United States regulations, the opportunity was created to add the United States to global distribution channels.

In 2017, Nestle SA reported the company would invest approximately US$55 million to create a joint venture (of which it will own 51%) potentially employing 300 Republic of Cuba nationals to source ingredients for and to produce coffee, biscuits and cooking products.  Completion date is by 2019.  Other Nestle SA production facilities are being considered for expansion.

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Will BIS, OFAC & State Department Delay New Cuba Regulations Due To Impact Of Hurricane Irma?

While not commenting for-the-record, the Trump Administration may delay the implementation of new and revised regulations relating to travel and commerce with the Republic of Cuba due to the impact of Hurricane Irma on both the state of Florida and the Republic of Cuba.  

A consideration is not to negatively impact the travel, remittance and delivery of items by individuals subject to United States jurisdiction who are of Cuban descent and reside in the United States, specifically the locations of the largest number of individuals of Cuban descent who reside in southern Florida and northern New Jersey.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the United States Department of Commerce, and the United States Department of State were expected to begin issuing new and revised regulations intended to diminish the number of individuals subject to United States jurisdiction who visit the Republic of Cuba, reduce the value of travel-related transactions benefiting Republic of Cuba government-operated entities, and discourage commercial engagement with Republic of Cuba government-operated entities, specifically those affiliated with the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of the Republic of Cuba.

There are four timelines given in the 16 June 2017 Presidential Memorandum:

30 days for OFAC, State, Commerce and Transportation to "initiate a process to adjust current regulations regarding transactions with Cuba." (Emphasis added).

30 days for OFAC to "initiate a process to adjust current regulations regarding Cuba to ensure adherence to the statutory ban on tourism to Cuba." (Emphasis added).

180 days for the Inspector General of the Treasury Department to report to the President on results of an "inspection" of Treasury Department's initiation of a system of "regular audits" of travel to Cuba to ensure compliance with relevant statutes and regulations.

90 days for the Attorney General to issue a report on "issues related to fugitives from US justice living in Cuba."

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President Trump: Continuation of the Exercise of Certain Authorities Under the Trading With the Enemy Act

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 8, 2017

MEMORANDUM FOR
THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY

SUBJECT: Continuation of the Exercise of Certain Authorities Under the Trading With the Enemy Act

Under section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223 (91 Stat. 1625; 50 U.S.C. 4305 note), and a previous determination on September 13, 2016 (81 FR 64047, September 16, 2016), the exercise of certain authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act is scheduled to expire on September 14, 2017.

I hereby determine that the continuation of the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba for 1 year is in the national interest of the United States.

Therefore, consistent with the authority vested in me by section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223, I continue for 1 year, until September 14, 2018, the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba, as implemented by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515.

The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.

DONALD J. TRUMP

Text of Trading With The Enemy Act Of 1917

 

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Cuba Business Summit Cancelled; Accepting Commercial, Economic & Political Realities

Cortlandt, New York-based Momentum Event Group (www.momentumevents.com), which organized well-attended and well-organized conferences in New York City in 2015 and in 2016 that focused upon commerce with the Republic of Cuba, has cancelled its 3rd Cuba Opportunity Summit scheduled for 23 October 2017.

The previous conferences were attended by senior-level company (United States and other country) representatives, senior-level United States government representatives, and senior-level Republic of Cuba representatives.

The unstated, but logical primary reasons are the continuing health issues of employees of the United States Department of State who were assigned to the United States Embassy in Havana, Republic of Cuba, and the focus by the Trump Administration to discourage both travel to and commerce with the Republic of Cuba.

The only type of individual who would today seek to be a panelist at a Republic of Cuba-focused commercial event would likely not be one for whom paying participants would want to hear, as they would be seeking to market opportunities contrary to the following realities:

The issues relating to:

1) the health of United States nationals with diplomatic status at the United States Embassy in Havana, issues which commenced in 2016 and the undetermined response by the Obama Administration;

2) the non-publicized (either by the Trump Administration or Castro Administration) expulsion in May 2017 of two diplomats accredited to the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Washington DC;  the Trump Administration uncharacteristically did not take credit in May 2017 for action not taken by the Obama Administration;

3) the continued support by the government of the Republic of Cuba for and benefits received from the government of Venezuela;

4) the continued commercial, economic and political outreach by the government of the Republic of Cuba to the People's Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Russian Federation;

5) and the pending issuance by the Trump Administration of new and revised regulations and policies for individuals and companies relating to travel to and transactions with Republic of Cuba government-operated entities;

will further negatively impact an already corrosive commercial, economic and political bilateral environment.  Any expectation of changes to statutes by the United States Congress is currently illusionary. 

The interest by United States companies will continue to deteriorate unless the government of the Republic of Cuba accepts significant components of the Obama Administration initiatives and does so quickly.

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Jet Blue Receives What American And Delta Could Not (Yet) Obtain; Awaiting United.... A City Ticket Office

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have ticket offices in outlying and upscale Miramar District of the city of Havana, but not in the downtown area; United Airlines has yet to open a ticket office.

http://otp.investis.com/clients/us/jetblue_airways/usn/usnews-story.aspx?cid=981&newsid=47924

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170901005135/en/

JetBlue Celebrates Opening of Havana Ticket Offices as Airline Marks Anniversary of Historic First Commercial Flight to Cuba

Two New Offices to Offer Expanded, In-Person Ticketing Options With Personal Interaction At Point of Sale

September 01, 2017 NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU), the first U.S. airline to bring affordable and convenient commercial air travel to Cuba after more than 50 years, today announced the long-anticipated opening of its City Ticket Office and Airport Ticket Office in Havana. Both locations offer a new option for Cubans to book travel on JetBlue, with the added benefit of in-person interactions which will provide the personal, helpful and simple customer experience the airline is known for.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, various Cuban officials, airport leadership and JetBlue crewmembers will take part in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the City Ticket Office today to celebrate the opening and will welcome customers at the new location. The opening of the ticket offices come the same week JetBlue celebrates the one-year anniversary of its historic first commercial flight to Cuba on August 31, 2016. In this first year of commercial service, JetBlue has carried more than 390,000 customers between the U.S. and Cuba and operated nearly 2,000 flights between the two nations.

“The openings of these offices allow us to offer a truly personalized experience for our Cuban customers with face-to-face interactions when arranging JetBlue travel,” said Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, JetBlue. “As we begin our second year of commercial service in Havana – one of the Caribbean’s most important markets – we are now positioned to introduce our low fares and award-winning service to even more travelers in Cuba’s capital.”

The City Ticket Office is centrally and conveniently located in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood. The new JetBlue space is in the same building as several travel agencies. The area is well-known and easy to reach for JetBlue customers. The accompanying Airport Ticket Office is located across from JetBlue’s check-in counters at Terminal 3 in Havana’s José Martí International Airport (HAV). Both locations welcome customers wishing to book travel with JetBlue and offer the lowest available fare. Customers may also make changes to existing reservations, select seats and select ancillary services.

In many Caribbean and Latin American markets, City and Airport Ticket Offices are the most convenient and preferred way for customers to make their reservations. The locations also allow for an even more personal interaction at the point of sale. JetBlue operates similar offices in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. JetBlue operates daily flights between Havana and three of the airline’s focus cities:

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Flights between the U.S. and Havana feature the most legroom in coach (a) and complimentary and unlimited name-brand snacks and soft drinks. Select flights also feature free Fly-Fi, the fastest broadband internet in the sky (b); free, live DIRECTV® programming and 100 channels of SiriusXM® radio in every seatback.

JetBlue is proud to offer customer-friendly baggage allowances for travelers flying to or from Cuba, with the ability to check up to a total of three bags or boxes, each up to 99 lbs. and up to 80 linear inches (length + width +height) (c). Please see JetBlue’s Checked Baggage page for more information.

In addition to Havana, JetBlue serves three other Cuban cities with daily service from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood:

Santa Clara – Abel Santamaría Airport (SNU)

Camagüey – Ignacio Agramonte Airport (CMW)

Holguín – Frank País Airport (HOG)

JetBlue’s commercial service launch followed nearly five years of successful charter service operating multiple routes between Cuban markets and U.S. cities. In that time, JetBlue built strong relationships with airport authorities and worked closely together to make the successful launch of commercial service possible.

All U.S. customers traveling to Cuba must be authorized to do so under the U.S. government’s Cuban Assets Control Regulations and they must certify that they qualify for one of the twelve approved travel categories outlined by the U.S. Department of Treasury. All travelers to Cuba must make their own determinations with respect to the appropriate travel category, as well as the type of visa required by Cuba for their purpose of travel.

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