WASHINGTON – The U.S. government has removed 45 Cuban companies, individuals and vessels from a sanction list of entities suspected of supporting terrorism or drug-trafficking, in a new step towards thaw in trade and financial relations between the two countries.
Six individuals, 28 entities and 11 vessels were eliminated from the list by the U.S. Treasury Department, a spokesperson from the Department told Efe on Tuesday.
The 45 affected entities, most of which are based in Panama despite having originated in Cuba, can now access the U.S. financial system and any of their assets in the country that were frozen due to the restrictions.
According to the spokesperson, the move “is in line with (U.S. President’s) Cuba policy” after Obama announced a process of normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba in December after over half a century of strained relations.
However, the lifting of sanctions on these entities does not imply that Cuba will be taken off from the U.S. State Department’s list of countries sponsoring terrorism, a demand made by Havana that is still under consideration by the Washington.
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson said in an address Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives that no timeframe had been established regarding a decision on Cuba’s removal from the list.
Cuba has featured on the list of terrorism sponsors since 1982, subjecting it to sanctions such as ban on sale of arms and financial aid.
Most of the companies, individuals and vessels removed from the list are linked to the tourism, fishing, naval, financial or investments sectors, according to an official list obtained by Efe.
Among the six individuals taken off the list are Amado Padron Trujillo, a former official of the Cuban interior ministry who was executed in 1989, Osvaldo Antonio Castell Valdez, Nury de Jesus Abdelnur, Antonio Delgado Arsenio, Carlos Jaen Duque and Alfred Kaufman Stern.
Some of the companies off the list are U.S.-based Travel Services, Kol Investments, Caribbean Happy Lines and Guama travel agency; financial companies such as Reviso Trading Company and Inversiones Lupamar and others like Harnman, Hermann, Kaspar, Ravens or Pamit.
This new move by the U.S. government falls under an internal revision of Cuban individuals and entities, explained the spokesperson, on grounds of anonymity.