This dramatic and emotional outburst is growing like a bamboo tree, and the influence of social media has lead people eagerness to know what’s on in the mystical island. Celebrities are no longer concerned in keeping a low profile while traveling to Cuba, the opposite, they are on the front page of any newspaper, some of the bolder ones have made history by extending their trip to cultural events, such as the concert of the Rollin Stone, the fashion show by the legendary Karl Lagerfeld who took his Resort 2017 Chanel show to Havana Cuba.
Hollywood’s filmmakers, supported by the country’s independent production industry shot House of Lies and Fast & Furious in the most impressive historical city, the Old Havana.
So, how did they pull it off?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) removed Cuba from its exclusion list enabling U.S.-based telecom operators to provide telephone and Internet services to Cuba without the need of a separate approval from the FCC. And based on that IDT Corp. has formed a J-V with the Cuba’s telecommunications company ETECSA; Verizon Communications Inc. is offer roaming wireless services to its American customers while in Cuba.
According the OFAC, transactions that are directly incident to professional media or artistic productions of information or informational materials for exportation, importation, or transmission, including the filming or production of media programs (such as movies and television program). The Cuban record enterprise EGREM and Sony Music Entertainment signed a licensing agreement for the international distribution of EGREM’s catalog of Cuban music.
Carnival cruise line – Fathom – cultural immersion and people-to-people connections.
All this does not represent a legislative change, as the embargo remains in place, however recent changes have been the cornerstone to overcome the complex red tape procedure in order to get the green light from the US treasure department in any project related to Cuba.
People are changing their skeptical approach, they are coping with the governments bureaucracy by being more persistent and patient, and focusing on results. A couple of examples: Cleber LLC the first US enterprise to operate in the Cuba Mariel Development Zone, Starwood Hotels signed three new hotel deals in Cuba, it’s the first U.S. company in the hospitality sector to launch in the Cuban market.
OFAC has issued a general license authorizing carrier services between the United States and Cuba, directly or indirectly, by vessel, in addition to the existing authorization for provision of such services by aircraft. Its doesn’t include general aviation.
JetBlue the leading airline to the Caribbean already offers nonstop charter services to and from New York, Fort Lauderdale and Havana.
American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines among others have submitted their applications to the US transportation department, hopping to get the required license to fly to Cuba.
Do you need a license, in which category does your business or interest fall?
Different interpretations arrive via different paths, so make sure you are well in formed, by reading the Cuba-US, FAQs
The Department of the Treasury and the Department of Commerce are announcing additional revisions to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), building off the changes put into place by Treasury and Commerce on January 16, 2015 and further delivering on the new direction toward U.S. relations with Cuba that President Obama laid out last December. The changes, consistent with the President’s December announcement, will take effect on Monday, September 21, 2015, when the regulations are published in the Federal Register. A fact sheet detailing the revisions, which will be administered by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), is below.
Transportation by vessel of authorized travelers – between the United States and Cuba only and without stops in third countries – will be authorized by general license.
Close relatives now also will be allowed to visit or accompany authorized travelers for additional educational activities, journalistic activity, professional research, and religious activities, as well as activities related to humanitarian projects and activities of private foundations or certain research or educational institutes.
All authorized travelers will be allowed to open and maintain bank accounts in Cuba in order to access funds for authorized transactions while in Cuba.
Telecommunications & Internet-Based Services –
Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be allowed to establish a business presence in Cuba, including through joint ventures with Cuban entities, to provide certain telecommunications and internet-based services, as well as to enter into licensing agreements related to, and to market, such services.
Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be allowed to import Cuban-origin mobile applications into the United States and to hire Cuban nationals to develop them.
Commercial and Financial Transactions –
All persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be allowed to provide goods and services to individual Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, provided there is no commercial exportation of goods or services to or from Cuba.
Banking institutions will be able to open and maintain accounts for Cuban individuals for use while the Cuban national is located outside of Cuba, and to close such accounts.
Physical Presence and Operations in Cuba –
Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction engaging in the following categories of authorized activities will be allowed to establish and maintain a physical presence, such as an office, retail outlet, or warehouse, in Cuba: news bureaus; exporters of certain goods authorized for export or reexport to Cuba by Commerce and OFAC, such as agricultural products and materials for construction or renovation of privately-owned buildings; entities providing mail or parcel transmission services or certain cargo transportation services; providers of telecommunications or internet-based services; entities organizing or conducting educational activities; religious organizations; and providers of carrier and certain travel services. These individuals and entities will also be authorized to employ Cuban nationals, open and maintain bank accounts in Cuba, and employ persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction in Cuba.
The limits on donative remittances to Cuban nationals other than prohibited Cuban Government or Cuban Communist Party officials, currently set at $2,000 per quarter, will be removed entirely. The limits on authorized remittances that individuals may carry to Cuba, previously $10,000 for persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and $3,000 for Cuban nationals, will also be removed entirely.
Remittances from Cuba and from Cuban nationals in third countries to the United States will be authorized by general license, and financial institutions will be allowed to provide related services.
Legal Services –
A new general license will authorize persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to receive, and make payment for, certain legal services from Cuba or Cuban nationals.
Humanitarian Projects –
The license authorizing transactions related to specified humanitarian projects will be expanded to include disaster relief and historical preservation.
On December, 17, 2014, Obama gave a speech on his intentions to normalized the diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA, by supporting the Cuban people, and making changes to facilitate authorized travel for Americans to Cuba; as well as certain commerce and financial activities and the flow of communications to and from the island as well.
The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations toward Cuba. And yes indeed it’s a step forward for the Americans and the Cuban people, but the restrictions (Embargo) remain. So, what has really been changed?
OFAC has issued *general licenses within the 12 categories of authorized travel for many travel-related to or from Cuba that previously required a **specific license (i.e., an application and a case-by-case determination). Which means anyone who meets the requirements doesn’t need to apply for a license to travel to Cuba.
Family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.
Importation of goods
You can import goods from Cuba into the US which it’s total value doesn’t exceed $400. Take a note, you can’t import more than $100 of alcohol or tobacco. (This policy applies also to foreign persons entering the United States from travel that included Cuba). Be aware that you can’t buy alcohol or cigars of Cuban origin to import into US through a third country or via Internet.
The new rule allows US travellers to use their credit or debit cards issued by an American financial institution.
Diem rate no longer applies, and there is not limit dollars on expenses.
Remittances have been raised from $500 per quarter to $2,000 per quarter.
Visitors may carry up to $10,000 in cash to Cuba for family remittances per authorized trip.
Certain remittances to Cuban nationals for humanitarian projects, support for the Cuban people, or development of private business are now generally authorized.
Commercial telecommunications services in Cuba or linking third countries and Cuba will be authorized, including telecommunications-related, transactions, payment related to the provision of telecommunications involving Cuba, or provided to Cuban individuals. Pursuant to this provision, U.S. citizens may, for example, purchase calling cards for people to use in Cuba and/or may pay the bills of such people directly to a telecommunications operator located in Cuba, such as ETECSA
Travel and carriers services
Travellers will be able to purchase their ticket directly from the airline offering the service. Airlines and travelers are responsible for maintaining records of their Cuba-related transactions for at least five years.
Support for the Cuban People
Humanitarian projects include medical and health-related projects; construction projects intended to benefit legitimately independent civil society groups; environmental projects; projects involving formal or non-formal educational training, within Cuba or off-island, on the following topics: Entrepreneurship and business, civil education, journalism, advocacy and organizing, adult literacy, or vocational skills; community-based grass-roots projects; projects suitable to the development of small-scale private enterprise; projects that are related to agricultural and rural development that promote independent activity; micro-financing projects, except for loans, extensions of credit, or other financing prohibited and projects to meet basic human needs.
The regulatory interpretation of “cash in advance”has been changed from “cash before shipment” to “cash before transfer of title and control” to allow expanded financing options for authorized exports to Cuba
A license is an authorization from OFAC to engage in a transaction that otherwise would be prohibited. There are two types of licenses: general licenses and specific licenses. *A general license authorizes a particular type of transaction for a class of persons without the need to apply for a license.**A specific license is a written document issued by OFAC to a particular person or entity, authorizing a particular transaction in response to a written license application.
Persons engaging in transactions pursuant to general or specific licenses must make sure that all conditions of the licenses are strictly observed
Original Source: http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/e9d4bd/
The embargo against Cuba (known in Cuba as blockade) is an economic sanction imposed by the U.S. government in 1960. Initially this measure was taken in response to the nationalization of American businesses carried out by the regime of Fidel Castro.
In the coming years the U.S. intensified the economic measures against Cuba reaching its limits. The United States believed that tightening the blockade would isolate the island, break the Castro regime, and therefore bring a subsequent period of transition to the democracy. And And based on those beliefs The Cuban Democracy Act was signed into law in 1992. However, so far the aims of the law had not been fulfilled – The Castro brothers where still in the power and the Cuban people didn’t surrender because of hunger- so it was necessary to strengthen the embargo against Cuba.
In 1996 the act extended the territorial application of the initial embargo to apply to foreign companies trading with Cuba…any non-U.S. company that deals economically with Cuba can be subjected to legal action and that company’s leadership can be barred from entry into the United States. President Clinton issued a transnational law, which bans foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies trading with Cuba.
If a vessel dock at Cuban ports for the purpose of trading of goods or provision of services may not dock at U.S. for a period of 180 days from the date the vessel departed from Cuba.
Financial transactions and other dealings by or on behalf of U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents, or individuals and companies located in the United States, and subsidiaries of U.S. companies (no matter where in the world these are located) are prohibited also if or such transactions involve property.
A person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States shall not import good when is of Cuban origin; is or has been located in or transported from or through Cuba; or is made or derived in whole or in part of any article which is the growth, produce or manufacture of Cuba.
No U.S. citizens and permanent, permanent resident alien, or U.S agency may knowingly make a loan, extend credit or finances transactions involving confiscated property.
The acquisition, transfer disposition, transportation, importation, exportation, or withdrawal of, or the endorsement or guaranty of signatures on or otherwise dealing in any security registered or inscribed in the name of any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States is prohibited.
The term property includes gold, silver, bullion, currency, coin, credit, securities, bills of exchange, notes, drafts, acceptances, checks, letters of credit, book credits, debts, claims, contracts, negotiable documents of title, mortgages, liens, annuities, insurance policies, options and futures in commodities, and evidences of any of the foregoing. The term property shall not, except to the extent indicated, be deemed to include chattels or real property.
persons and an officer, director,or agent of any corporation who willfully violate, neglect, or refuse to comply with the sanctions law upon conviction, shall be fined. Penalties may be fined up to the greater of either $250,000 for individuals and $1,000,000 for organizations or twice the pecuniary gain or loss from the violation.
Any property, funds, securities, papers, or other articles or documents, or any vessel, together with its tackle, apparel, furniture, and equipment, concerned in a violation of sanction laws may upon conviction be forfeited to the United States Government.
Violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations may result heavy fines. E.g.:
BNP Paribas SA, ($963,619,900). Also involving Sudan, Iran and Burma.
Red Bull North America, Inc., ($89,775)
American International Group, Inc.,($279,038)
CWT B.V., of the Netherlands, ($5,990,490)
The Royal Bank of Scotland ($32,649,38)
ING Bank N.V. ($619,000,000)
Cuba sanctions program represents the implementation of multiple legal authorities ans is enforced with:
The Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917
The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961
The Cuba Assets Control Regulations of 1963
The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, the Helms–Burton Act of 1996
Original Source: http://www.gpo.gov/libraries/