A colleague sent me a link to a somewhat humorous post at the ExportLawBlog about Santa Claus possibly being denied entry into the U.S. because he will have visited Cuba and delivered toys. Before reading my comments, be sure to read “How OFAC Stole Christmas” first.
My sources in North Pole advise that Saint Nick hired some top-notch attorneys in town just to make sure he would not run astray of U.S. laws that seek a peaceful transition and a return to freedom just 90 miles from our shores. Santa has also waived the attorney-client privielge and allowed his lawyers to share some of their advice with me.
First, Santa was advised that § 515.207 would not apply to his activities tomorrow as he would not be engaging in any form of trade with the Cuban Communist Party that controls the government of Cuba. He was not trading with the state sponsor of terror that is Cuba, but sharing Christmas cheer with the Cuban people just as U.S. citizens do throughout the year. Santa’s lawyers plugged the latter group with Santa and told him that the U.S. remains the largest donor country in the world of humanitarian assistance to the people of Cuba.
Second, in case anyone still tried to go after against Santa and his crew, an emergency application for a religious acitivity license was submitted (See § 515.566). While you would not know it by the media reporting on the holiday season, Christmas remains a religious holiday. Despite close to fifty years of squashing the free exercise of religion, Cuba remains close to ninety percent Catholic and they have celebrated the holiday, albeit mostly underground and in reserved manner, ever since.
Santa was also advised that while some of us would like to see Titles III and IV of the Cuban Liberty and Solidarity Act enforced, non-U.S. citizens are allowed to freely traffic in stolen properties and practice tourism apartheid with impunity. Aghast, Santa said he would never do such things even if he could and asked if he should remove such people from his gift list? His lawyers advise that they could not answer the question.
As a final note, I suggested to Santa’s legal team that they had more to worry about from the Cuban MINFAR and MININT than any agency of the U.S. Government (Tip: the photo used at ExportLawBlog should, from experience, have included a Cuban Mig and not as U.S. jet as we all know how trigger happy our “friends” down South are on these subjects). Furthermore, rather than concern himself about Cuba, there may be a more pressing legal cause with Russia and her claiming the “North Pole” seabed earlier this year.
P.S. If anyone stole Christmas it has been the Communist Party of Cuba that has denied the Cuban people the right to worship freely since it took power in 1959, among other things too numerous to list here that augur for more, not less, sanctions and other robust measures against the Communist Party of Cuba. As that system has evolved, so have U.S. laws and regulations. On this latter topic I posted an item just last week.