Robust Context Is Important For The Crediblity Of Advocacy

On 17 January 2019, a Washington DC-based advocacy organization published information that should have included more robust context.  The following includes information shared with organization: 

Organization Published: “The 1992 Cuba Democracy Act (CDA) prohibits foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies from trading with Cuba. It also establishes the “180-day rule,” which prevents vessels from loading and unloading freight in the U.S. if it has aided trade with Cuba in the past 180 days.” 

Consider Adding: The Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1992 also re-authorized the export of healthcare products (medical equipment, medical instruments, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals) from the United States to the Republic of Cuba and re-authorized the provision of telecommunications services.  There are no restrictions as to payment terms.  The United States Secretary of the Treasury may waive the 180-day restriction; and has done so on many occasions since 1992. 

Organization Published: “The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA) of 2000 authorizes certain agricultural, pharmaceutical, and medical device exports to Cuba, but stipulates that these transactions must be paid for by cash in advance, effectively prohibiting private financing for exports to Cuba. It also restricts tourist travel to Cuba.” 

Consider Adding: The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSREEA) of 2000 re-authorized the direct export of agricultural commodities and food products from the United States to the Republic of Cuba.  To our knowledge, there are no “certain” agricultural commodities.  We would be interested to learn the source for the information that you provided.  The TSREEA was not the re-authorizing statute for healthcare products; the TSREEA changed nothing relating to the export of healthcare products.  Healthcare product exports remain subject to the CDA of 1992.  The TSREEA does not restrict tourist travel by individuals subject to United States jurisdiction to the Republic of Cuba; the statute prohibits such travel.  Since the first exports under TSREEA of agricultural commodities from the United States to the Republic of Cuba in December 2001, the total value of agricultural commodity and food product exports exceed US$5.8 billion on a cash-in-advance basis. 

Organization published: “U.S. companies are thriving in Cuba despite the embargo’s remaining economic restrictions, including Airbnb, Marriott, five major U.S. airlines, Google, Expedia, Caterpillar, and Stonegate Bank.”  

Consider Adding: We would suggest that the use of the word “thriving” is inaccurate.  Marriott International (through a subsidiary) has one management contract and is expecting to commence another- three years after reporting that it would commence the second management contract.  Caterpillar has not officially reported sales to Republic of Cuba government-operated entities or non-Republic of Cuba government-operated entities.  The five major (American, Delta, Jet Blue, United and Southwest) airlines have, as a group, fewer flights today than when they commenced service; and load factors outside of Florida remain unstable; other airlines were authorized to commence services and did not do so.  Some airlines commenced service and have discontinued service.  Google donated equipment; the company has not reported any sales of equipment.  Google has confirmed that its offers to provide country-wide Internet services has not been accepted.  Stonegate Bank engages in some transactions using Panama-based Multibank in a triangular payment transfer process; and the Obama Administration did not simplify the process for Stonegate Bank to commence direct correspondent banking with the Republic of Cuba government-operated financial institution with whom Stonegate Bank has an account; and the current owner of Stonegate Bank, Arkansas-based Home BancShares, has refused to discuss why it will not pursue a direct correspondent banking agreement.  The government of the Republic of Cuba has thus far refused to authorize United States companies to directly export products to the registered self-employed in the Republic of Cuba; the Obama Administration authorized such transactions.  The government of the Republic of Cuba has thus far refused access the Republic of Cuba marketplace by United States-based consumer retail and consumer service providers; there are many United States companies (including law firms, consultancies, accounting firms) who sought, but were refused authorization to establish offices in the Republic of Cuba.