For Liberty to Flourish in Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, Others Must Leave

Trump administration officials last week announced targeted sanctions of four Venezuelan nationals for violations of human rights and corrupt behavior. This latest announcement brings the total number of sanctioned Venezuelan nationals to 44. That figure includes the regime’s two top leaders, Nicolas Maduro and Tareck El Aissami. The targeted sanctions approach started in 2015 during the Obama administration, but …

Your Man in Havana

The attached law note, Your Man in Havana, was published in 54th edition of the London-based World Export Controls Review Journal. If you’re in the export controls or economic sanctions compliance or law orbit, you should consider a WorldECR subscription. Be sure to visit their website. I completed this law note a week before President …

US Congress Seeks to Expose Corruption in Nicaragua

On September 21, the House of Representatives approved passage H.R. 5708, the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2017 that, if it becomes law, will prohibit loans by international financial institutions (“IFIs”) to the government of Nicaragua unless Nicaragua takes steps to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections as well as strengthen the rule of law. The left-wing …

Senate Democrat: Obama Administration’s Lawless U.S.-Cuba Policy Sets Up Potential Litigation

One of the biggest threats to liberty is when people think they think, and act, above the law. During the course of the last few years there are, unfortunately, plenty of examples of this throughout the Obama administration. For example, the regulatory superstate is destroying our healthcare system and, in the process, trampling fundamental liberties. Bailing out …

Radio Martí Interview on Cuba Foreign Trade Minister’s Visit to Washington DC

Cuba’s Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca was in Washington, DC this week for meetings with Obama administration officials as well as supporters in Congress. He also spent time with lobbyists and other special interests on K Street such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As I wrote a few days ago, Malmierca is part of …

Cuba: The Difference Between Succession and Transition

University of Miami’s Dr. Jaime Suchlicki and I co-authored a short piece about the difference between succession and transition in Communist Cuba. Earlier this week a client that happens to support President Obama’s rapprochement with the regime, calls me and reads the following excerpt: A normalization of relations with a military dictatorship in Cuba with General …

You’ll Need A Lot More than a BB Gun to Put Down a Charging Bear

Spend more time outside you said. Care for poor helpless animals you said. Guns are not progressive you said… pic.twitter.com/A6VcADM3Oe — Nikka (@Nikka_777) March 25, 2014 This week the U.S. Treasury Department announced a new traunch of economic sanctions that, among other things, should compel Russia to scale back adventurism in the Crimea and Ukraine.  A reporter had asked …

BNP Paribas Needs New Leadership, Vision … and a Few ‘Boy Scouts’

Access to the U.S. financial system is a privilege, not a right. France’s BNP Paribas, as well as French government officials, are learning that obvious lesson the hard way. It will be a costly process. In fines alone, the European banking giant faces at least $8 billion or more in fines for helping countries such as …

Economic Sanctions Work, Just Ask BNP Paribas (for the second time)

Clients often ask, “do economic sanctions really work?” I could take this thread many ways, however, they do. They really do. A nuisance to some, irritant to others, economic sanctions are, bar none, some of the most effective economic foreign policy tools available to the United States. They are relatively cheap to implement and can …

Economic Sanctions on the Venezuelan Regime, Long Overdue

Yleem’s latest commentary piece on economic sanctions and Venezuela ran in today’s print edition of The Washington Times. If there was ever a classic specimen calling for targeted economic sanctions it would be the Venezuelan government. For some odd reason, and Yleem elaborates on a few reasons why, the Bush and Obama Administrations have resisted just …

US Treasury OFAC Cracks Down on P2P Cuba Travel, Sanctions Violations

It is starting to appear that the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is cracking down on more travel agencies offering people-to-people (P2P) travel services to Communist Cuba. Just yesterday OFAC announced that a Delaware corporation, with offices in Argentina, will pay close to three million dollars for alleged violations of U.S.-Cuba sanctions. …

The Hill: Sanctions Busters Get a Free Pass

From today’s The Hill newspaper, Dr. Yleem Poblete talks economic sanctions: Yleem Poblete, a former Hill aide for almost 20 years and the former House Foreign Affairs Committee chief of staff from 2011 through 2013, said politics is a likely reason for the delayed reporting. She said enforcing the sanctions was sometimes a problem under …

Response to Russia: Doomed to Fail Unless Immediate Action Taken

Thursday last week I moderated a panel on Capitol Hill with the Ambassadors from Ukraine, Czech Republic, Georgia and Lithuania titled: European Ambassadors to Discuss “Russian Aggression: Exploring the Implications of Putin’s Annexation of Crimea”. The discussion was co-hosted by the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies and the School of Theology and Religious Studies at …

The Homer Simpsons of the Crimea Crisis

Washington, DC is digging out of yet another winter snow storm today. While they are at it, politicos might as well pick up a political shovel to also dig themselves out of the Ukraine political hole they keep digging. If this is the opening to some new Cold War, doubtful, or a prelude to the …

While Russia “Creates” the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, US Righteously Indignant

The United States is a day late and a dollar short, again. Without firing a shot, Russia has created the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. This Ukraine business is a significant strategic loss for the West and other lovers of freedom. The best the United States, and NATO allies will be able to do is impose sanctions …

U.S. Can Do Better With Iran Policy

My op-ed  in today’s The Hill newspaper: Former House Foreign Affairs CoS Yleem Poblete: Failing, again, to connect the dots on Iran As two House Foreign Affairs subcommittees prepare to hold a hearing on the threat of Iran in the Western Hemisphere, one cannot help but recall what Machiavelli wrote about centuries ago in The Prince: When …

US Treasury OFAC: Send Beyoncé and Jay-Z an Anniversary Present

UPDATE: Drudge Report reporting that several Members of Congress have penned a note to the USG. For those of us that follow events in a a little island 90 miles from our shores, the news of the week was the Cuba trip of Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z. Judging solely from the news reports, the trip …

Want U.S.-Cuba Sanctions Laws & Regs Clarity? Start by Re-Authorizing the Export Administration Act

I posted the following response to a blog entry at the always entertaining and informative Export Law Blog. In contrast to the usual subject matter of the DC Dispatches, most of the following discussion in this post is kind of in the weeds (you’ve been warned). You may want to read the Export Law Blog post …

Export Control Reform, Proliferation Concerns Raised

In today’s Washington Times, Bill Gertz penned an interesting item missing from the public debate on reforms to the export control system being implemented by the Obama Administration: According to congressional aides, the administration has prevented U.S. intelligence agencies from conducting comprehensive assessments of the security impact of the export decontrol plan. Prevented? In the …

US Sanctions More Iranian Companies

Senior U.S. government officials announced yesterday another sanctions volley against the Iranian regime’s Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). The Justice Department announced a 317 count indictment against IRISL for violating U.S. sanctions laws, while the Treasury Department announced the addition of ten Iranian businesses and three executives as specially designated nationals or SDNs. If …