luis chirino | April 25, 2011 at 9:51 pm |

South Journal—Cuba is right when asserting that the economic, financial and commercial US blockade imposed by the United States further intensifies under the Obama administration, particularly regarding bank transactions. This subject was clearly addressed by Raul Castro in his statement at the recent Congress of the Communist Party.

What comes next is the report on another two actions, in a long list, that reaffirm the prevalence of the statement above. The first was Barclays Bank. Ireland’s Cuba Support Group opened a humanitarian assistance account to back the work being done by the Cuban personnel in Haiti, before the earthquake hit that nation.

The account was opened in the city of Dublin, and when the unions in Belfast, Northern Ireland, heard of it they decided to send a check valued at 600 pounds to that account, and they got a surprise. They received an official notification from Barclays Bank saying that since the final destination of the money transfer was a bank account of a group linked to Cuba, they could not make the transfer due to the “Trading with the Enemy Act,” which was adopted during the First World War.

What happened was not totally absurd. Since August 2010, Barclays Bank was forced to pay a 289-million dollar fine to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) with the US administration, for having violated this “Trading with the Enemy Act,” after having undertaken operations linked to Cuba.

After this, came the turn for the famous PayPal of e-Bay which carries out transfers via the Internet from one account to another, or money transfers in general. The Irish Cuba Support Group decided to keep assisting the work of the Cuban personnel in Haiti, this time after the devastating earthquake that hit the Caribbean nation.

Then, they decided to send the collected money to an account that was opened by the Cuban Mission and whose name bears the words “Cuba” and “Earthquake”. They carried out the money transfer through PayPal and when they thought that they had already sent the donation to the Cuban Mission in Haiti, they received the following notification by the US company: “…PayPal would be in violation, under the Trading with the Enemy Act, if we facilitated transactions where funds benefit Cuba.”

Here then, we have more extraterritorial sanctions, in bank transactions and under the Obama administration. It is not only related to blocking anything from reaching Cuba, but also to preventing humanitarian from reaching Haiti.

Would this be the US Blockade in the Obama style?

Below is the official notification sent by PayPal to Ireland´s Cuba Support Group.


[English version of article by journalist Reinaldo Taladrid, published on Cubadebate]

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