Effective January 28, 2011, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (Regulations) implementing policy changes announced by President Obama on January 14, 2011.
OFAC has amended the Regulations to implement certain policy changes by allowing for greater licensing of travel to Cuba for educational, cultural, religious, and journalistic activities and expand licensing of remittances to Cuba. These amendments also modify regulations regarding authorization of transactions with Cuban national individuals who have taken up permanent residence outside of Cuba.
Recent amendments have created new general licenses authorizing certain U.S. academic institutions and religious organizations to engage in certain activities in Cuba and travel-related transactions incident to authorized activities. As a consequence, a new note in respective sections, explains that authorized institutions may open accounts at Cuban financial institutions for the purpose of accessing funds in Cuba for transactions authorized pursuant to that section. These amendments do not authorize U.S. financial institutions to open or use direct correspondent accounts of their own at Cuban financial institutions.
New general licenses are also created to implement certain policy changes with regard to remittances to Cuba, such as those authorized to qualified individuals, religious organizations and close relatives who are students in Cuba pursuant to an educational license.
A new general license is also added to authorize certain transactions with Cuban nationals that have taken up permanent residence outside of Cuba. This section deals also with their status as unblocked national, their interest on blocked property and certain steps that interested persons subjects to U.S. jurisdiction have to take to verify this status of Cuban nationals.