Statement on Latest Round of Obama's Cuba Regulatory Changes

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Today, the Obama Administration has released its third round of regulatory changes since December 17th, 2014, which now allows exports purportedly destined "for the Cuban people" to be monopolized by the Castro regime's state enterprises.

This latest round of regulatory changes expressly contradicts the stated purpose of Obama's policy, which was purportedly to "empower the Cuban people" and "promote economic independence." Instead, today's regulations succumb to the Castro regime's insistence that all foreign trade transactions must be funneled through its monopolies. Rather than ratcheting up pressure on the Castro regime to open Cuba's "cuentapropista" ("self-employment") sector, the Obama Administration is now blatantly "empowering" the Castro regime's economic grip. There are five decades of evidence to prove that Castro's monopolies have never brought greater wealth or freedom to the Cuban people. To the contrary, it has strengthened and enriched Castro's cronies and repressive apparatus.

These regulations not only contradict Obama's own words, but they are against U.S. law. The only exports legally exempted for sale to Cuba are telecommunication services, via the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act, and agriculture, medicine and medical devices, via the 2000 Trade Sanctions Reform Act. Any exports to Cuba outside of these two statutory exemptions are illegal. Today's regulations are also viscerally against the stated policy and intent of U.S. policy towards Cuba, as codified in law. As such, any transactions pursuant to these new regulations would be subject to legal challenge. Moreover, the U.S. Congress should continue to hold accountable Commerce, State and Treasury officials, who are clearly prioritizing the political whims of The White House over the law of the United States.