OFAC: Travel, Trade, Licenses, Legislation


US policy towards Cuba is primarily implemented by the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  Ironically, they function with very little transparency so relatively little is officially known about how they work, who pulls their strings, or how policies and decisions are made.  Sort of reminds us of what we are told is bad about the government of Cuba.  Their official website is

With respect to Cuba, the best known of OFAC's activities are letters that "require furnishing information" and threaten fines -- these are often misrepresented in the media as imposing a fine.  Individuals receiving these letters have constitutional and due process rights that they can exercise if they don't want to furnish information or pay a fine.

The following articles give some insights into OFAC's power, practices and policies, and some initiative to challenge their totalitarian character.

Travel to Cuba from the U.S.  The US government paints with a very broad brush.  They maintain that their foreign policy applies to US citizens living anywhere AND everyone, regardless of nationality, living in the US. Discussion of regulations for United States citizens, those under U.S. jurisdiction and Cuban-born non-Cuban citizens wish to travel to Cuba. Including a discussion on getting a specific license from OFAC. 

Returning from Cuba to the U.S.  Discussion on issues and treatment one might encounter when returning to the U.S. from a visit to Cuba.

Harassment of Travelers to Cuba by OFAC  How to respond to various kind of on-going harassment by OFAC after returning home.

Right to Travel: The Constitutional Case A review of U.S. Supreme Court Cases that address the issue of right to travel and related issues.

ACLU Questions Need for Travel Ban (Feb 11, 2002)

Press Coverage on OFAC and the Right to Travel to Cuba

OFAC Senate Testimony on Travel Related Transactions Involving Cuba

Sen. Dorgan says, "OFAC is supposed to be fighting terrorism, not chasing retired American citizens who are riding a bicycle in Cuba."  August 17, 2001, press release from the office of Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and interview from Newsweek Magazine with Sen. Dorgan.

The Status of IBF's License to Conduct Educational Programs in Cuba  Crushing Liberty to Promote Democracy:  OFACís Licensing Program - A Flawed Process

The Status of IBF's Order to Cease and Desist Suppression on the right to travel, right to association and freedom of inquiry

Links  Access to information to help you understand and get to Cuba.


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