WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a fact sheet underscoring the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting internet freedom in Cuba, following the Cuban regime’s attempts to silence protests in July. The fact sheet highlights the most relevant exemptions and authorizations within the Cuba program that support the provision of certain internet and related telecommunications services to Cuba.
“The Department of the Treasury will continue to support the human rights of Cuban people, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, and oppose censorship, including restrictions on internet access,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea Gacki. “The guidance and licensing information issued today reiterates and clarifies that persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may engage in certain transactions that support the ability of Cuban people to seek, receive, and impart information, especially at this critical moment in Cuban history.”
OFAC and BIS administer a comprehensive economic embargo on Cuba, consistent with applicable statutes and regulations. While most transactions between persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and Cuba continue to be prohibited under the embargo, the U.S. government allows for certain activities to continue unimpeded, including those outlined in the fact sheet issued today. Consistent with U.S. foreign policy, moreover, OFAC has a favorable licensing posture towards specific license requests involving transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to ensure that the Cuban people have safe and secure access to the free flow of information on the internet.
The relevant OFAC regulations can be found in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 (CACR). The relevant BIS regulations can be found in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), 15 C.F.R. parts 730-774.