May 2012        

International

US aiding and abetting the robbery of Cuban funds

From Granma International (Havana)


The US Department of the Treasury presented a report to Congress recently about frozen funds belonging to four countries—Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Cuba—that the State Department had placed on its list of countries sponsoring “international terrorism,” as well as organisations and individuals who had been sanctioned by the US government.
     In the case of Cuba the amount cited as frozen at the end of 2010 was $248.1 million and at the close of 2011, $245 million, as a result of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.
     These funds, however, no longer remain safely stored in the “freezer”: they have been stolen. For some years now allocations of these funds have been made that affect cash and property belonging to the Cuban people, Cuban citizens living here as well as those living abroad, citizens of other countries, Cuban enterprises and those of other countries, who have all been victimised by the blockade’s laws and regulations in this economic war against Cuba.
     All this began on 8 July 1963 when the Treasury Department issued the so-called Cuban Assets Control Regulations—that is, the blockade regulations, the freezing of Cuban assets in the United States.
     What were these assets at that time, and what are they now? Everything from real estate to bank accounts belonging to the state, entities or individual Cubans, even transfers being made to Cuba by foreign entities or persons—even objects containing precious metals won as prizes by Cuban citizens in contests or sporting events or bequeathed as inheritances.
     Although the paralysing of these funds was illegal, beginning in the 1990s these assets were subject to further violations: the outright theft of property belonging to the Cuban state or enterprises based on unilateral decisions made by the US government, as a result of judgements of Florida courts against Cuba and new anti-Cuban laws approved in Congress. On four occasions between 1996 and 2000, Cuba was robbed of a total of $170 million.
     2 October 1996: President William Clinton ordered the Treasury Secretary to take $1.2 million of frozen Cuban funds and turn them over to the families of pilots from the terrorist organisation “Brothers to the Rescue” who had been shot down for repeatedly violating Cuban air space on 24 February 1996.
     12 February 2001: Complying with an order issued by President William Clinton on 19 January 2001, the Office of Foreign Assets Control instructed the Chase Manhattan Bank to transfer $700 million from accounts belonging to the Cuban company EMTELCUBA to pay indemnities to the families of the “Brothers to the Rescue” pilots.
     This theft was facilitated by Senator Connie Mack, who, in the service of the Cuban-American mafia in South Florida, won approval for the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which included a section allowing spurious court judgements to award frozen Cuban assets, encouraging these types of outlandish court cases against Cuba.
     29 April 2005: President George Bush arranged for the Treasury Department to hand over $198,000 of Cuba’s funds to a US citizen of Cuban origin resident in Miami, Ana Margarita Martínez, who had obtained a ruling from a Miami court in her favour, based on allegations of torture and sexual aggression by a Cuban agent infiltrating anti-Cuban terrorist groups, who was married to her at the time.
     This story, and the previous two, are well known. Granma published an article on 15 January 2007, just five years ago, outlining how the Bush government, in 2003 and 2004, had allowed Ana Margarita to abscond with other Cuban assets. The Treasury Department authorised her to auction off three hijacked Cuban aircraft that had been confiscated on court order: an AN2 from 11 November 2002, a DC3 from 19 March 2003, and an AN24 confiscated twelve days later. The US government allowed this theft.
     27 November 2006: In accordance with a ruling by a federal judge in New York, J. P. Morgan Chase Bank transferred $72,126,884 to the families of Anderson MacCarthy and Ray Weininger, to partially cover the court-ordered indemnities levied against Cuba, based on their spurious claims, given the legitimate defence measures taken by the Cuban government in the face of aggressive actions committed by their family members, Thomas Willard Ray and Howard F. Anderson, in the service of the US government during the early days of the Cuban Revolution.
     Who are Willard and Anderson? Willard was an American pilot and CIA agent. It was said that he was summarily executed on 19 April 1961, but the truth is that he died in a confrontation when his B26 bomber was shot down during the mercenary invasion at Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs). For eighteen years his body was preserved at the Cuban Legal Medicine Institute, as the US government denied his identity and refused to recognise his nationality or accept responsibility for this aggression or any of the many committed by another group of American pilots who, on orders from the CIA, supported the mercenary “Brigade 2506.”
     Anderson was captured weeks before the invasion while he was engaged in subversive activities in the service of the US government. He was a member of an armed group of Batista-era military officers and was detained during the confiscation of eight tons of weaponry meant to be used in terrorist attacks and sabotage. He was the CIA’s link to counter-revolutionary groups within Cuba, was prosecuted in April 1961, and was sentenced to death.
     As a result of these thefts, the frozen assets belonging to the Cuban state and other entities deposited in American banks have been practically exhausted. The bulk of the assets that remain frozen belong to Cuban citizens and foreign individuals or companies.
     The hostile policy of the US government towards Cuba, which includes the more than fifty-year blockade, the arbitrary and unfounded designation of Cuba as a country that sponsors international terrorism and the manipulation of that fallacy to promote court cases against our country in hopes of being awarded an indemnity from the frozen funds are just some of the machinations used by the world’s largest economy against a small country like Cuba. The complicity of US executive, legislative and judicial powers has enabled this unscrupulous expropriation of Cuban property.
     This is the truth about the so-called frozen funds: they were stolen.

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