Sunday, June 9, 2013


The Venezuelan-to-Cuba fiber optic cable is not the only ongoing connection between these two countries. If you are a US financial institution whose clients trade with Venezuelan companies, please note that some of the shipments of goods do not end up in Venezuela, but are transshipped directly to Cuba. That means your clients, and your bank, is at risk for OFAC sanctions violations.

There are more than 60,000 Cuban nationals living and working inside Venezuela, and they are not all doctors, my friends. Cubans direct the operations of large portions of the Venezuelan government, as well as its economy. Payment instructions to you may even come from Cuban supervisors or commanders, and OFAC rules technically prohibit dealing with any Cuban national located outside the United States

It is submitted that, to reduce the risk of an OFAC violation regarding both shipments of goods to Cuba via Venezuela, as well as dealing with Cuban nationals working in Venezuela, that you ensure that your client' customers certify that Venezuela is the final destination of the goods, and the end user. Treat these transactions as if they were shipments of weapons or ammunition, which require end user certificates, and you will reduce your risk to manageable levels, in my humble opinion.

Remember, an end user certificate is signed by the recipient, not the sender or shipper. Should they be notarised by a known Notary Public, or executed at the US Embassy in Caracas ? It would ensure that you do not receiver any forgeries, or documents improperly signed by your clients.

The fiber optic connection

It may be preferable to have such a document drafted by your outside counsel, in Spanish, in coordination with your compliance department. Take the time to protect your bank from potential OFAC violations.


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