Yesterday, Florida-based Stonegate Bank announced that it will be issuing a new credit card for use in Cuba.
Only hotels and retail stores owned by Cuba's military allow the use of credit cards. These hotels are primarily located in properties confiscated from Americans, while the retail stores market brands (e.g. rums, cigars) that were similarly stolen.
As such, Stonegate's extension of credit for transactions in these properties are illegal.
Section 103 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act has a strict prohibition on extending any such financing in Cuba. It reads:
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no loan, credit, or other financing may be extended knowingly by a United States national, a permanent resident alien, or a United States agency to any person for the purpose of financing transactions involving any confiscated property the claim to which is owned by a United States national as of the date of the enactment of this Act, except for financing by the United States national owning such claim for a transaction permitted under United States law."
There are no exceptions to this language, including for authorized American travelers.
Thus, the Treasury Department must either require Stonegate Bank to set up a system to certify its transactions do not involve confiscated properties -- or take appropriate enforcement action.
Florida state regulators should also take action to ensure Stonegate Bank does not break the law by authorizing such transactions.
Even if such transactions have the political blessing of The White House -- despite its Constitutional responsibility -- the statute of limitations does not run out with the Obama Administration.
Moreover, the American victims of these stolen properties in Cuba may also consider a private right of action.
Finally, these transactions are also against U.S. policy, as codified in law.
The Castro regime's company in charge of processing every single one of these transactions is called CIMEX.
CIMEX stands for Cuban Export-Import Corporation, one of the Cuban military's largest commercial entities, whose operations range from banking to retail. It was also nefariously linked to narcotic trafficking activities in the 1990s.
CIMEX's yearly revenues are now over $1.5 billion and rising -- thanks to Obama's new policy.
The head of CIMEX is Colonel Hector Oroza Busutin, a Raul Castro confidant. CIMEX falls within the greater GAESA military conglomerate, which is headed by Raul's son-in-law, General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas.
Thus, once again, the beneficiaries of Obama's new policy are not the Cuban people, or the "self-employed" entrepreneurs, who the President purports to support.
The beneficiaries are the Castro family and its military conglomerates.