Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Odds and ends

  • The Export Law Blog digs into last week’s story about a Colorado company accused by the feds of violating the embargo, and is not impressed with the government’s case based on what has been disclosed so far. The company, Platte River Associates, is said to have provided software to Cuba that is used in mapping potential oil exploration areas. According to a Colorado newspaper, it seems the company sold software to Spain’s Repsol, not to Cuba.

  • USAID’s Cuba program funding has been frozen by Congress, and USAID is conducting a top-to-bottom review of the program, the Herald reports.

  • A Canadian airline inaugurates Windsor-to-Varadero flights, and the Detroit News, from just across the border, speculates that Americans will be aboard. Although, as President Nixon used to say, “That would be wrong.”

1 comment:

Mambi_Watch said...

Concerning the freezing of USAID's Cuba Program funding, the hard-liners are wrong on this issue.

As the Herald reported, Frank Calzon believes that the funding is being held back by Rep. Howard Berman (Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs) because Berman is not "in agreement with the president's Cuba policy." This position was supported by Ninoska Perez Castellon this morning (on Radio Mambi) referring to the Herald article.

On the contrary, the main reason Rep. Berman has placed a hold on funding is due to what he feels is a "top priority" in foreign assistance reform.

Last June, Rep. Berman stated at the launching of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network:

"Calls for foreign assistance reform are at an apex; this is a very encouraging development, and we must not squander the opportunity... there is broad agreement that our foreign assistance program is fragmented and broken, and in critical need of overhaul so it can better respond to the significant challenges of the 21st century."


The 2006 GAO audit of Cuba Programs was sufficient to warrant a thorough reform in assistance. And, the Felipe Sixto case (with Calzon's organization) was the limit.

The USAID Cuba Program will be reformed, and appropriately so to address the new Raul Castro government, under the rubric of a grand scale reform of US foreign assistance.

In addition, as Rep. Berman said after Fidel Castro's retirement:

"This development [of Castro's retirement] may provide an opportunity for the United States to inject creativity and fresh ideas into that policy to better achieve our common goal of bringing freedom to the people of Cuba."


Hard-liners, or "intransigents" as some call themselves, are opposed to "fresh ideas."