Around Town …

  • Last week, a virtual Obama issued a statement on export controls reform during an annual export controls federal government confab hosted by the Department of Commerce.  The praise flowed: “a strong first step” said the Business Roundtable, “undoubtedly welcome” penned Ars Technica, and the National Foreign Trade Council said the reform will be “significant,” to name a few.  I say let’s wait for the details.
  • The Trinidad and Tobago government says it plans to pass new laws to deal with the long-standing problem of human trafficking.
  • According to the non-profit Realite-EU, Iran is shoring up nuclear support, in Bolivia.
  • Heritage Foundation scholar attempts to draw a parallel to Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama on export control reforms.  The thing is that the world Ronald Reagan led was fundamentally different from the world order today. Reforms in this area need to be responsive to these realities and, from what some of us have seen, these reforms will fall to short balancing security and commercial needs.  With little detail to go on because the Administration has only communicated via talking points and official speeches, still too early to place a “Reagan moment” accolade on the Obama team.
  • Cuba Travel Part I:  Two weeks ago folks in town were buzzing about possible changes to travel restrictions being eased for Americans interested in visiting state sponsor of terrorism Cuba.  I was in Miami back then and they were buzzing there as well.  As it turns out, nothing of legal substance on travel has taken place, yet.  People in the know seem to think that there will be and soon.
  • IAEA report to detail how Iran is impending international inspectors and violating economic sanctions.
  • The Simon Wiesenthal Center estimates that there are approximately 3,000 Hezbollah operatives located throughout Latin America.  The Center’s Latin America representative are calling on regional government to expel these individuals as well as freezing or confiscating assets.
  • Ahead of elections, Bahrain accuses Shiite activists of terrorism and subversion.
  • The Australian Conservative published today the first in a series of articles dubbed, The New Economy of Terror.   Well worth a read.
  • Cuba Travel Part II:  To the chagrin of opponents of U.S. policy, the President extended the sanctions for another year pursuant to his authority under the Trading with the Enemy Act.  As if there was ever a doubt this would happen …
  • Despite extending sanctions on Cuba for another year, expect a significant announcement from the U.S. in a few weeks related to travel by Americans as well as the release of political prisoners in Cuba (and possible expatriation to the U.S., along with family members).
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