Rep. Flake Holds OFAC Accountable

By Dawn Gable

Havana's Sacred Heart Church. Photo: Elio Delgado

HAVANA TIMES, June 24 — Long time advocate for restoring the rights of all US Americans to travel to Cuba, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) successfully added an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations bill that would require the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the regulatory body that enforces the Cuba travel ban, to: provide a report on pending license applications related to education exchanges.

This amendment, which faced no opposition in the full House Appropriations Committee yesterday, expresses dissatisfaction with the snail’s pace at which the Obama administration’s “purposeful travel” to Cuba provisions are being implemented.

“OFAC has granted only a handful of people-to-people licenses despite receiving at least 3,400 applications by the end of May”, says John McAuliff, director of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development and an expert on the subject.

See McAuliff’s in-depth analysis of the stalling that has occurred at each step toward licensing non-tourist travel to Cuba effectively impeding organized trips over the summer 2011 period.