Cuba accuses US of reaffirming decades old trade sanctions

Cuban officials have accused the United States of reaffirming their blockade on the island nation, after an US company was on Wednesday fined US$1.35 million for doing business with them.

Following  the outcome of a case in an US Court, filed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the US Treasury Department, Great Western Malting Company, has agreed to pay US$1,347,750 for handling administrative functions of a foreign affiliate that sold non-US barley to Cuba.

The transactions took place between August 2006 and March 2009.

According to OFAC, the Washington-based company could have been made to pay up to US$6 million but was charged considerably less because the company “significantly cooperated” with investigators and that at the time of the violations it did not have in place “adequate compliance OFAC programmes”.

But Cuban officials are calling it a renewal of the US blockade against the country, which was set in place since 1962.

Wednesday’s ruling comes exactly one month after a Dutch Bank ING was fined US$2 million for conducting financial transactions with US entities on behalf of Cuba.

Cuban state newspaper Prensa Latina has said that three US companies and foreign entities have been fined for the year so far, under the regulations of the blockade, which is said has cost the country in excess of  US $975 billion.©

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