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Cuba Decries Strengthening of US blockade

Havana, Jul 29 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations (Minrex) denounced today the United States has harshened the blockade on the island over the last weeks, using for this action the Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department.

According to the information from the Ministry, last June 28, the OFAC fined one of the most important Italian banks, Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A., compelling it to pay two million 949 thousand 30 dollars.

According to the probe carried out by OFAC, the bank handled 53 transferences in favor of Cuba, from 2004 to 2008.

The Cuban government says the extraterritorial application of this sanction is evidence of the impudence with which the United States treats its European partners and sets a negative precedent for other institutions that do business with Cuba.

Besides this, adds the official note, last July 22nd, the OFAC fined once again another company for violating blockade regulations against Cuba, this time with five million 226 thousand 120 dollars, the biggest sum yet this year.

The victim this time was one of the main touroperator agencies in the US, American Express Travel Related Services Company. This is the second fine in less than one month and the fifth this year, stresses Minrex in an official note published in its digital website.

The OFAC announced this last sanction after concluding a detailed investigation consisting in the US obsession of preventing at all cost that US citizens travel freely to Cuba.

The fine was set off by the alleged sale of 14 thousand 487 air tickets to travel to Cuba from third countries, outside from the licence given to American Express Travel for the groups of “people to people” travel.

At the same time, the Minrex note says the fines reinforce the extraterritorial application of the blockade on companies for their operations in third countries.

The fundamental objective of this criminal and inhumane policy keeps on harming and bearing suffering on the Cuban people, concludes the communique.

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