Obama making backdoor moves to further ease sanctions against Cuba’s repressive dictatorship

While federal law remains a major obstacle to Obama completely lifting sanctions against the repressive apartheid Castro regime in Cuba, you can call this the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent. Except this isn’t a camel, and it sure as hell is not his nose.

Via McClatchy:

Administration moving to further liberalize rules on trade with Cuba

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez holds up the government’s annual report on what Cuba loses due to the U.S. embargo

The Obama administration is working to finalize a change in U.S.-Cuba trade rules that experts called a major development that would significantly open the door to expanded business on the island.

The regulation has not yet been released, although a 27-page document, dated Sept. 7 and marked to be reviewed by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, was provided to McClatchy.

It couldn’t be determined if the version that is ultimately released will match the Sept. 7 version. The Department of Commerce didn’t respond to a request for comment about it.

As indicated in the document, the rules could amend existing ones to boost engagement between American and Cuban people, accelerate the free flow of information to and from Cubans, and ramp up independent economic activity generated by Cubans.

In many ways, the rule would merely be a continuation of the process begun Dec. 17, when President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. was seeking to thaw the five-decade freeze in its relations with the island nation 90 miles from Florida.

After that momentous December announcement, the Commerce and Treasury departments in January took steps to put in place parts of the president’s policy. The new rules, which could be announced as early as Friday, could amend the terms of existing license exceptions available for Cuba, create new licensing policies, and take other steps to further promote economic activity in Cuba.

Robert L. Muse, a Washington-based lawyer and expert on Cuba trade who reviewed the Commerce document Thursday, said the moves could be significant.

“They’re greater than the ones in January,” he said in an interview. “The rules in January were important – they established the precedent. But it was more of a beachhead, and it was a bit murky. Now they are engaging the business community in a way that’s going to be interesting and important to them. It begins to give them some real commercial traction.”

Among the key changes, Muse said, was that companies engaged in exporting authorized items to Cuba will be able to establish, maintain and operate physical premises in Cuba.

That, he said, is significant.

“Maintaining a presence is brand new – that’s the big further step they have taken here,” Muse said. “The intention is to bring American businesses to the island.”

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2 thoughts on “Obama making backdoor moves to further ease sanctions against Cuba’s repressive dictatorship”

  1. In a way, I’m glad this is happening. It’s the definitive proof that we were always fools for counting on the kindness of strangers. Perhaps at first it was understandable, but it’s been a pathetic fantasy for a very long time now. Maybe this will finally put it to rest–preferably forever.

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