Legal Authorities for NLG Emergency Resolution adopted by the Oakland convention on 10/24/2015

Please see below or click for NLG Resolution; the following Resolution statements in bold are followed by supporting authority.

1. “While full repeal of the statutory authority for these economic sanctions can only be done by Congress, …” This includes repeal of the Torricelli and Helms Burton acts of 1992 and 1996, 22 U.S.C. ch 69 & 69a, respectively.

2. “the Obama administration has so far not used its expansive authority to allow Cuba to sell to the U.S.,…” See http://americasquarterly.org/charticles/the-new-normalization/ by Atty. Robert Muse, in section 2: “The U.S. president’s authority to rescind or otherwise modify the trade embargo on Cuba is essentially unfettered.” Muse quotes from the beginning of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR), which states that “all … transactions are prohibited except as specifically authorized by the Secretary of the Treasury…” He cites two alternative ways that the administration on its own can rescind the “prohibitions on Cuban-origins products.” The Cubans agree that the administration has wide authority which has not been used to lift these trade restrictions; see http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2015-02-12/the-blockade-has-not-ended; and also the October 2015 UN speech by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2015-10-27/bruno-rodriguez-we-will-continue-to-present-this-draft-resolution-for-as-long-as-the-blockade-persists, which gives examples of continuing extra-territorial enforcement actions including billion dollar fines. See also http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Fines-German-Bank-US1Bn-for-Doing-Business-with-Cuba-20141216-0037.html, http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/credit-agricole-sanctions-1.3280169, and https://www.cubastandard.com/?p=14263. This has effectively scared off U.S. and foreign banks from making payments owed to Cuba, even worse than before the December 2014 announcements about normalization. E.g., http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article43698861.html.

3. “…or to generally allow U.S. suppliers to sell or provide goods and services to Cuban entities, including urban and rural cooperatives.” See Muse, above: “Similarly, the president possesses the executive authority to rescind restrictions on U.S. exports to Cuba.” Citing President Kennedy’s Presidential Proclamation 3447, prohibiting such exports, Muse indicates that “President Obama or a successor is just as free to rescind the proclamation that Kennedy made.” There is no evidence that the U.S. administration has given detailed consideration to allowing U.S. co-ops and others to support and trade with the growing movement of Cuban rural and urban co-ops, based on their response on this point in Commerce Dept. briefings in 2015.

4. “The Internal Revenue Service should cease all attempts and proceedings to revoke the 501(c)3 non-profit status of IFCO, the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, based on its long history of using civil disobedience to challenge US restrictions on travel to and trade with Cuba.” IFCO has posted the full legal filings by the IRS so far with IFCO’s responses, at http://ifconews.org/irs-plans-to-strip-ifco-of-its-tax-exempt-status/ and at http://ifconews.org/ifco-fights-back-against-right-wing-attack/

5. “The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) should cease all impending threats and prosecutions of U.S. persons based on their previous travel to Cuba, including the threatened re-institution of “trials for travel” in Washington D.C.” This includes apparently expansive interpretations of what it means to “provide travel services,” and administratively prosecuting cases based on alleged incidents some five years ago. E.g. see the penalty of some $43,000 agreed to for 2009-2010 “travel to Cuba … organized by nonprofit agencies that had OFAC licenses, and the trip’s logistics were handled by a tour operator that also had an OFAC license.” — reported at http://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2015/10/27/travel-firm-pays-fine-in-cuba-violations-case/. Proceedings instituted this Spring from the Miami OFAC office also are seeking large penalties for travel four & five years ago, and OFAC has recently stated its intent to resume administrative “trials for travel” to Cuba, which the Bush administration pursued but then abandoned after 2006.

6. “the U.S. State Department should immediately cease its continuing practice of unreasonably withholding or delaying issuance of non-immigrant visas to mainstream Cubans invited to visit the US by academic and professional organizations including the NLG and for this convention.” This pattern continues even for speakers who have previously been cleared and visited the U.S. without incident. Such recent examples include: the President of the Cuban Labor Law Society, invited to the NLG convention, in late October, 2015; and the President of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples, invited to speak in Washington, D.C., NYC and California, in early November, 2015.  Dr. Alberto Roque, a leading gay activist and doctor who had headed Cuba’s program for comprehensive treatment for transgender people, was only able to give his invited presentation to the American Sociological Society annual convention (but missing most of the convention) in late August, 2015 and the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center in September, after the intervention of U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Congressional Reps. Gwen Moore, John Conyers and Barbara Lee. He and all the others received visas after their planned departure, requiring last minute flights at exorbitant prices.

For more specifics, contact:
NLG Cuba Subcommittee
c/o Art Heitzer, aheitzer@igc.org
633 W. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1410
Milwaukee, WI 53203 USA

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