As The Perpetrators Cash In
"With all the talk about the United States normalizing relations with Cuba, Claire Martin was excited to see an article in the New York Times Travel section about a Cuban cruise. A Canadian Company was offering Americans a week-long trip to Cuba. Claire, 89, from Riverdale, the Bronx, contacted her friend and traveling companion Nancy Edelstein, who was anxious to go with her on the cruise.
Nancy sent in the $500 deposit for the two women.
Claire, who banks electronically with Chase, sent a check to Nancy for half the deposit, $250 dollars. She filled in Nancy's name and address and wrote in 'Cuba' in the memo section as a reminder of what the check was for. She had no idea the problems it would cause.
The day after sending the check, Claire got a call from Chase asking her why the word Cuba was on the check. Claire explained that it was reimbursement for a deposit on an upcoming trip. She was told that referencing Cuba might be associated with the Cuba Sanction and appears on a designated black list by the U. S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
A Chase spokesman told Claire 'the funds are in a JP Morgan Chase blocked account and they can't release it because it's been impounded by the Federal Government.'
Claire and Nancy have to apply for a Treasury Department license to prove they qualify for a Cuba trip. Even though the United States is loosening relations with Cuba, Americans cannot travel there unless they are part of one of 12 categories of authorized activities.
Claire says she never expected to be put through such an ordeal just to qualify for the cruise to Cuba. She never thought writing the word 'Cuba' in a memo line on a check would trigger a red flag. 'I hate to use the reference big brother is watching,' she said. 'But I think it is very unfair.'"
Of course, everything about America's Cuban policy since 1959 has been "unfair" to millions of Americans. It is a policy dictated all these decades by the leading remnants of two generations of the deposed leaders of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba and it is a policy designed to get revenge on Revolutionary Cuba while also greatly enriching and empowering a handful of Cuban-American extremists at the expense of everyone else, including non-extremist Cuban Americans.