Venezuelan Regime Keeps Going for Broke, And Will Lose

Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro took out a full page ad in the New York Times to denounce targeted U.S. economic sanctions against seven of his henchmen that have engaged in human rights abuses against political opposition leaders. You can read a little more about the sanctions in a prior post on this site: Targeted …

Targeted Venezuela Sanctions, Better Late Than Never

President Obama has determined that the situation in Venezuela “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” and that additional economic sanctions must be imposed. The somewhat surprise move, in addition to starting to outline the national security threat that Venezuela poses to the Americas, starts to put in …

The U.S.-Cuba Policy Betrayal, Another ‘Neville Chamberlain’ Moment

A reporter asked me yesterday if I knew or had been tipped off about the December 17 announcement by the Obama Administration. She had read a December 16 post on this blog, the Cuba Policy Canard, where I discussed the very likely possibility that a significant Cuba announcement would happen, soon. Little did I know …

Iran Efforts to Circumvent U.S. Export Control Laws Pay Off, Eventually

Haaretz reported yesterday that the Iranian Air Force had fired up at least one U.S.-made Phantom fighter in the battle against radical Islamic terrorism. According to Haaretz: The Iranian Air Force is bombing Islamic State (ISIS) targets inside Iraqi territory. It is an intensification of Iran’s military involvement on the side of the Shia regime …

Encryption Export Controls, More to Come, and Likely Needed

It had been a while since I had seen a administrative fine imposed on a U.S. company for the unlawful of export of encryption technology. According to the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security press release posted earlier this week: Wind River Systems of Alameda, Calif., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation, has agreed to …

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, Trading With the Enemy

Jail Time Seems Warranted for American Citizens Who May Have Participated in this Scheme My random thoughts on the recent BNP Paribas matter: French government officials are upset with the United States. What’s new, right? This time they’re cringing over a somewhat hefty fine imposed by the United States on BNP Paribas (BNPP), one of the …

Google Can Be Instrument For Good in Cuba – Help the Cuban People, Not the Regime

If Google wants to help advance the cause for freedom in Cuba, it should focus on changing hearts and minds in Havana, not U.S.  law or policy in Washington, DC. From what I read in the media about Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s recent visit to the island, as well as his blog post, it appears that …

Access to the U.S. Market is a Privilege, Not a Right

Access to the U.S. market is a privilege, not a right. So long as the U.S. dollar remains the world’s lead reserve currency and, foreign banks continue to want access to that dollar, they’ll need to play by the laws of the United States. This week Uncle Sam will, again, repeat this warning to foreign banks and corporations. …

Blame Comprehensive Immigration Reform Advocates for the Border Meltdown

If there really is a humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, look no further than the White House and Congress for allowing it to reach this point. I’m still not convinced what is happening down south is any worse than what has been happening there for decades. The nation may soon find out. Late last …

Clients and the Bash America Defense

If you’re a lawyer, and even if you’re in some other profession, at some point or another in your career, clients will push back on what appear to be very sensible recommendations. Just this week a colleague called me to discuss such a scenario. It involved a young European company with a business development person …

Lawsuit: BNP Paribas Used ‘Nazi’ Imagery in Training Video

Ever had a nagging noise coming from your car? You know the one. You know you should take the car to the mechanic, but you keep telling yourself, “it will go away on its own,” or, “I’ll get to it later.” Time passes, you get used to what now has become a rattle that you …

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 …

Morning Musings

Juarezgate – if you have followed this blog since 2008, then you know that one of the ongoing threads is an effort to highlight certain global events that the mainstream media, as well as the politicians in this town, tend not to focus on at all. The Western Hemisphere is a great case in point. This …

Dutch Company Fined $6M For Alleged US-Cuba Sanctions Violations

The U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced yesterday that Carlson Wagonlit Travel or, CWT B.V. (“CWT”), of the Netherlands has: agreed to pay $5,990,490 to settle potential civil liability for apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (the “CACR”), 31 C.F.R. part 515. In plain English, it appears that CWT violated U.S. …

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 …

Cuba, Release Alan Gross. Maybe Then US Can Help with “People to People” Banking Transactions

It is one of these odd stories that make me wonder if there is someone in the U.S. government that is, finally, utilizing our laws and regulations to exact concessions from the regime in Cuba. I’ve even managed to work in some Seinfeld. Read on. Under U.S. law, Americans can travel to Cuba by what …

Chinese Nationals Not Beaming Up, Anytime Soon

The U.S. government appears to have reached a few preliminary conclusions about what export control laws apply to the Virgin Galactic program, and likely much of the future civilian space services industry. And, not surprisingly, Chinese nationals need not apply for the $250,000 Virgin Galactic adventure … unless you’re creative enough to use immigration laws …

Cuba Castro Incorporated, Keeps Growing and Growing

Penned at the request of a client, the following post briefly discusses how the Cuban government is utilizing loopholes of U.S. economic sanctions law to, in essence, lobby the Congress and the Obama Administration to ease travel and other restrictions toward the communist country. In this post, I’m focusing on tourism. In future posts, we will …