Despite considerable pressure to change continuous, aggressive commercial practices waged against Cuba for half a century, the U.S. agency in charge of harassing providers serving the island nation has just lodged a fine of $20,950 against Lactalis USA, U.S. subsidiary of French giant Lactalis.
According to the Miami mafia press, always attentive to government decisions hostile to Cuba, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the cheese and milk product company for not conforming to regulations of the embargo to “make electronic financial transfers in which Cuba or a Cuban citizen holds interest” between February 2004 and March 2007.
OFAC reported the settlement was signed last February 27th. The central office of Lactalis USA is located in Buffalo, New York.
A Troop of Recalcitrant Officials
Last January 16th, OFAC decreed “legal clarifications” that imposed even more rigorous rules on travel to Cuba, and since then has affected U.S. commercial chartered flights and travel and remittance agencies.
The measures, announced four days before the inauguration of the current U.S. president, were interpreted as evidence of resistance from recalcitrant Bush officials, dissatisfied with the arrival of a new administration.
OFAC is only one part of the enormous, aggressive machine developed against Cuba by successive U.S. administrations. Through this machine, the Treasury Department spies on U.S. citizens and foreigners who dare maintain a relationship with Cuba. For years it has dedicated millions of dollars annually and a big part of its personnel to spy on, identify and punish individuals, companies and organizations.
Aligned with “Pepe” Cardenas’ USAID
A manifestation of the U.S. government policy designed to provoke the collapse of the Cuban Revolution, the activity of OFAC is closely aligned with the international agency for destabilization, USAID, whose Latin American department is directed by José "Pepe" Cárdenas. This character was a high official of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) of Miami, an organization closely linked with terrorism against Cuba.
"Pepe" Cárdenas is supported in his criminal activity by Elaine Grigsby, director of USAID’s Cuba Program; Armadjan Abani, of the USAID Office of Acquisitions and Assistance; Anthony Christino III, of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security; and Clara Davis of OFAC.
Cárdenas’ predecessor, Adolfo Franco, also Cuban-American, had to resign in 2008 because he was linked to an embezzlement scandal in various subsidized agencies, among them the Cuban Freedom Center of CIA agent Frank Calzón.
A few months ago, U.S. government sources revealed OFAC had only four full-time employees investigating the fortunes of terrorism suspects, but 24 officials were engaged in prosecuting citizens who dared to travel to Cuba and in detecting alleged violations against the Cuban blockade.
The Anti-Cuban Gestapo
Among its many absurdities, OFAC forced the Austrian bank BAWAG, acquired by the U.S. consortium Cerberus, to close the accounts of hundreds of its clients because they were born in Cuba. A few months later, this anti-Cuban gestapo ordered a U.S. informatics firm that sold the use of web dominion names to close without notice 80 sites belonging to a British tour operator for selling, among other destinations, trips to Cuba.
The fine against Lactalis is the first penalty that OFAC has applied in relation to the Cuban embargo since Obama’s arrival in the White House.
Europe’s first cheese manufacturer, Lactalis, processes about 20 million liters of milk a day, collected from 25,000 producers.
Despite the harassment from USAID and OFAC, Cuba guarantees a liter per day to all children, from zero to seven years of age. The Cuban state sets as a priority the delivery of milk products to hundreds of hospitals, nursing homes and the thousand day care centers it maintains in all of its municipalities.