Friday, April 10, 2015


Notwithstanding the substantial risks* to American businesses that choose to conduct business in Cuba, the US State Department has reportedly completed its review, and has recommended to President Obama that cuba be removed from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.  An aide to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmed this information today; This presents a major problem.

There are rumors that the President will make the announcement in Panama this weekend, at the Summit of the Americas. A large number of American companies have already made preliminary plans to enter the Cuban market as soon as existing legal impediments are removed; the terrorism designation is a major obstacle to business operations.

Removal creates a massive headache for American companies. Compliance officers at these US corporations do not presently possess sufficient access to data on the SDGTs who maintain offices and staff in Havana, and since much of the necessary information is either classified, or when available, appears only in the Arabic language, will be unable to cull out terrorist agents, or their corporate entities, from legitimate Cuban nationals and businesses.

Many of the terrorists have genuine identity documents from countries that cooperate with them, such as Venezuela, but those aliases have been classified by the US Government agencies who are aware of them, and not available to the banking industry. In short, American compliance officers are woefully unprepared to separate members of terrorist organizations from legitimate entities inside Cuba.

Unfortunately, the American intelligence community, and the Federal law enforcement agencies, keep the identities of known terrorists operating in the Western Hemisphere confidential, and quietly monitor the activities of those individuals. This does not help the North American financial community, as those agents, not known by the banks to be  terrorist organization members, gain access to the US banking structure.

Removing Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism will only further expose American corporations to the risks of Federal criminal charges for unwittingly providing material support to terrorism; the casualties will be US companies whose only crime was an eagerness to do business in Cuba.
*Removing Cuba from List of State Sponsors of Terrorism exposes American Businessmen

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