Picture your company being hauled into U.S. court to defend litigation for your Cuba business that is lawful in your home country. That is the scenario that the Trump administration and Cuba hawks in Congress are aiming to arrange. The Trump administration is preparing to part the practice of past presidents to allow U.S. persons to sue non-U.S., non-Cuban companies for doing business in Cuba, dealing in property seized by the Cuban government since the 1959 revolution.
Continue Reading The New Suits of Havana: How Non-U.S. Companies May Soon Be Sued for Their Business in Cuba

The Trump Administration has made good on its promise to cut back on the liberalized Cuban policy implemented by the Obama Administration with a new regime that introduces new travel restrictions as well as broad prohibitions on “direct financial transactions” between persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and parties on a new Cuban Restricted List (CRL) that has been published by the State Department.
Continue Reading Retrenchment on Cuban Sanctions; The Search for a Middle Ground

In our last post, we made a few cocky predictions about the new Trump Administration’s Cuba policy. We correctly asserted that the President would try to chart a narrow course between the Scylla of conservative Cuban-American expectations for an outright return to the embargo and the Charybdis of U.S. interests (business, strategic, and cultural) in improving Cuban relations. But how did our more substantive predictions fare? Okay, it’s a little hard to tell from the President’s actual speech, which was not full of policy detail. Fortunately, there is the Department of Treasury, whose overworked, understaffed Office of Foreign Assets Control provided a helpful FAQ page, and the White House staff, who produced a fact sheet on the new policy. In any event, nothing is final until OFAC issues regulations to implement the new policy.
Continue Reading Our Cuba Sanctions Predictions: How Did We Do?

According to reports published this week, the Trump Administration is preparing to release the results of its policy review on Cuba in the “coming weeks.” We don’t have a crystal ball (or a leaking insider). But we continue to believe that when you eliminate the impossible, what you have left (however improbable) may be the truth. That adage, from Conan Doyle, has guided our predictions of many Trump administration policies.
Continue Reading Our Armchair Santería on Cuba Policy: What Will President Trump do on Cuba?

After the announcement of Fidel Castro’s death on November 26, 2016, President Barack Obama sent a message to the Cuban people highlighting his administration’s efforts to improve relations between the United States and Cuba. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him…[T]he Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America,” Obama said.


Continue Reading Negotiation By Tweet: The Uncertain Future of U.S.-Cuba Relations

With fewer than 100 days left in office, President Obama is not slowing down on his efforts to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba. Today, several changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) go into effect. Those changes build on the plan President Obama laid out in December 2014 to increase the means for Americans and Cubans to collaborate in business, education, travel, and humanitarian work. The amendments will strengthen the ties between the two countries, stimulate Cuba’s private sector, create commercial opportunities for both the American and Cuban people, and potentially improve the lives of many Cubans. U.S. companies looking to expand into Cuba should review these changes carefully to identify and develop strategies for growth.

We have included some highlights from the updated regulations below that could significantly  impact your business (or may prompt you to create a new one!). For the full CACR amendments, click here. For the full EAR amendments, click here.


Continue Reading Obama’s Not Slowing Down On Cuba: New Steps Forward Open Doors (and Humidors!) for Collaboration

With more flights, relaxing regulations, a historic presidential trip to Cuba, and news of hospitality services expanding into Cuba, the pathway into Cuba for hotels and hospitality companies seems smooth.  But businesses should look out for the potential hurdles and compliance risks.  Don’t fret – we can help you welcome your guests.
Continue Reading Hotels and Hospitality in Cuba: OFAC and Obama Paving the Way

In a move that may honestly mean more to America than to Cuba, the White House has announced that President Obama will remove Cuba from the U.S. list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism.” As we reported here, the U.S. Department of State has listed Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism pursuant to the Export Administration Act, the Arms Export Control Act, and the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act since 1982. Reviewing Cuba’s place on the list was one of the central proposals of President Obama’s December 17, 2014 announcement of a new policy toward Cuba. On that day, the President directed Secretary of State John Kerry to review the designation of Cuba under the current facts and the applicable laws. Mr. Obama requested Secretary Kerry’s report within six months, setting up June 17 as the date for a massive trade-geek “over-under” betting pool. Knowing Secretary Kerry to be a classic gunner (law school slang for the person who is always first to raise a hand with the right answer) our money was on the under. So we have cashed in on yesterday’s announcement. All of you who took the over, pay up.
Continue Reading A Carriage of Justice: Obama to Remove Cuba from Terrorist Sponsor List

One aspect of the dramatic shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba that has not been widely reported is a relaxation of the old rule prohibiting imports of most Cuban goods and services. Under the new rules, if your Cuban supplier is one of a small but vibrant class of entrepreneurs on the island, there is now a long wish list of goods and services you may import from Cuba.
Continue Reading 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Import From Cuba

On March 25, 2015, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that PayPal Inc. (“PayPal”) agreed to pay $7.7 million to settle 486 violations of U.S. economic sanctions.  According to OFAC, for several years until 2013, PayPal, one of the world’s largest electronic payment companies, did not have adequate compliance processes to “identify, interdict, and prevent” transactions that were in apparent violation of OFAC sanctions programs.  Specifically, PayPal did not employ adequate screening procedures and technology to identify transactions involving U.S. sanctions targets.
Continue Reading Paying the Piper: PayPal Inc. Settles Sanctions Violations with OFAC for $7.7 Million