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Chiwas
05-04-2004, 10:02 AM
Mexico, Peru pull envoys to Cuba

From Harris Whitbeck
CNN
Tuesday, May 4, 2004 Posted: 10:03 AM EDT (1403 GMT)

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- Mexico has recalled its ambassador to Cuba following a blistering May Day speech by the island nation's communist leader, Fidel Castro.

http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2004/WORLD/americas/05/03/mexico.cuba/story.castro.ap.jpg
Cuban President Fidel Castro is critical of Mexico's U.N. vote against his nation's human rights record.

Castro's tirade followed a U.N. vote last week condemning Cuba's human rights record. Latin American neighbors Mexico, Peru and Chile supported the resolution. The Cuban president railed against Mexico, saying it has lost its prestige in the world community, especially because of its support for the U.S.-backed resolution.

"The Foreign Ministry reports that it decided today to modify the bilateral relationship with Cuba, maintaining it at the level of chargé d'affaires," a statement on the Mexican Foreign Ministry's Web site said. "This does not signify a break in the diplomatic relationship between Mexico and Cuba." Mexico also declared a Cuba diplomat "persona non grata," with Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez ordering him to leave the country immediately.

Peru also has pulled its ambassador from Havana, according to Peru's exterior minister. The minister, Jose Manuel Rodriguez, said Castro's criticisms of Lima's foreign policy was offensive to the Peruvian government.

Following Mexico's announcement, demonstrators gathered outside the Cuban Embassy in the Mexican capital in support of Havana. Mexican leftist politicians have long backed the Castro government. Relations have been on a downward spiral since Mexican President Vicente Fox took office in 2000.

At a U.N. summit for development that year, Fox was embarrassed by Castro, who publicized an audiotape of a conversation in which the Mexican leader asked him to leave before President Bush's arrival. An ongoing domestic political scandal also has added fuel to the fire. Carlos Ahumada, a Mexican businessman accused of fraud, fled to Cuba, where officials alleged he said he had been involved in a government plot to discredit Mexico City's leftist mayor, a member of the opposition party.

Despite the current tension, Mexico appeared to hold out hope for a reconciliation. "When the conditions of friendship and respect that should exist between nations are reconstructed, Mexico hopes to regain the level of friendship and trust which has always characterized our countries," Derbez said.

FishForLunch
05-04-2004, 10:44 AM
So I guess US is not the only ones that have issues with Cuba

Mavdog
05-04-2004, 06:08 PM
The current WH sure sees Cuba as more important than terrorism and al Queda. It was recently disclosed that the Treasury Dept had more than twice as many people assigned to tracking Cuba's finances than it devoted to trying to unravel the money network of Bin Laden or any other terrorist suspect. This is before and after 9-11.

where's their priorities?

madape
05-04-2004, 07:13 PM
hmmm. I think the billions upon billions of dollars we've spent in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the hundreds of lives we've sacrificed in those countries more than dwarfs the intelligence costs we budget to Cuba each year.

Just a guess though, as I don't have the numbers in front of me.

Mavdog
05-04-2004, 07:59 PM
Originally posted by: madape
hmmm. I think the billions upon billions of dollars we've spent in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the hundreds of lives we've sacrificed in those countries more than dwarfs the intelligence costs we budget to Cuba each year.

Just a guess though, as I don't have the numbers in front of me.

so you agree with the Bush administration's decision tp devote more resources in the Treasury Dept. towards examing Cuba's financial dealings than dedicated to the tracking of Bin Laden and al Queda's financial network?

ridiculous.

madape
05-05-2004, 10:16 AM
I don't know how you could misinterpret the comment I just posted, but I'll try to lay it out as simple as possible.

I think your claim that the US spends more resources tracking Cuba's financial dealings than it does in it's fight against terrorism is pure unadulterated horseshit.

Simple enough for you?

Mavdog
05-05-2004, 10:59 AM
Originally posted by: madape
I don't know how you could misinterpret the comment I just posted, but I'll try to lay it out as simple as possible.

I think your claim that the US spends more resources tracking Cuba's financial dealings than it does in it's fight against terrorism is pure unadulterated horseshit.

Simple enough for you?

Too bad you're totally, absolutely, clearly wrong....
You should know better than to challenge my assertions by now.
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"More federal agents track Cuba than al-Qaida
By JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press
(Published: Thursday, April 29, 2004)
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Treasury Department agency entrusted with blocking the financial resources of terrorists has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's and Saddam Hussein's money, documents show.

In addition, the Office of Foreign Assets Control said that between 1990 and 2003 it opened just 93 enforcement investigations related to terrorism. Since 1994 it has collected just $9,425 in fines for terrorism financing violations.

In contrast, OFAC opened 10,683 enforcement investigations since 1990 for possible violations of the long-standing economic embargo against Fidel Castro's regime, and collected more than $8 million in fines since 1994, mostly from people who sent money to, did business with or traveled to Cuba without permission.

The figures, included in a lengthy letter OFAC sent to Congress late last year and provided to The Associated Press this week, prompted Republicans and Democrats alike to question whether OFAC has failed to adjust from the Cold War to the war on terrorism.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., threatened Thursday to start an effort in Congress to eliminate some funding for OFAC if more resources weren't put toward the bin Laden and Saddam efforts.

"This is really astounding," Dorgan said. "I hope somebody in the administration will soon come to his or her senses and start directing our resources where they are needed. Politics is clearly diverting precious time, money and manpower away from the war on terrorism here."

Sen. Max Baucus, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, requested the figures, which showed that at the end of 2003, OFAC had 21 full-time agents working Cuba violations and just four full-time workers hunting bin Laden's and Saddam's riches.

"Rather than spending precious resources to prevent Americans from exercising their right to travel, OFAC must realign its priorities and instead work harder to keep very real terrorist threats out of our country," said Baucus, D-Mont.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the tax-writing Senate panel, agreed.

"OFAC obviously needs to enforce the law with regard to U.S. policy on Cuba, but the United States is at war against terrorism, and al-Qaida is the biggest threat to our national security," Grassley said. "Cutting off the blood money that has financed Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden must be a priority when it comes to resources."

The Treasury Department, which oversees OFAC, said its workers "fully utilize the resources and tools available to us to protect our nation and the good-willing people around the world from those who seek to harm us, be they terrorist thugs or fascist dictators."

In a statement, Treasury said the Bush administration was "steadfast in fighting the financial war on terror and honoring our commitment to the United States and the United Nations to uphold our economic sanctions against rogue nations."

But the department last month signaled it wasn't completely satisfied with its terror-fighting effort, announcing a reorganization that placed four historically autonomous offices - OFAC, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Office of Asset Forfeiture and the Office of Intelligence Support - under the control of a new undersecretary for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Treasury Secretary John Snow wrote Grassley that the initiative will, by 2005, double the resources OFAC had just four years ago if President Bush's budget is approved. Still, Snow acknowledged change was needed.

"In a post-Sept. 11 world it was crucial that we took a good, hard look at the capabilities we had available as well as question what changes needed to be made in light of that attack," Snow wrote.

In its letter late last year to the Senate committee, OFAC said it "has no information that any foreign government is knowingly sheltering Saddam's personal wealth." The agency added that the deposed Iraqi dictator "almost certainly used front companies and trusted associates outside Iraq to hold and manage assets."

As for bin Laden, OFAC wrote that its dealings with Saudi officials and bin Laden's family since 1999 have led it to conclude that the al-Qaida leader did not have a fortune of $300 million or more, as some media reports have suggested.

"He may have had some wealth, but not in this range," OFAC wrote. Instead, OFAC said bin Laden used his status as a "trusted person" from a wealthy Saudi family to collect and distribute charitable funds in the name of radical Islam, essentially underwriting a recruiting and training network that became al-Qaida.

OFAC is charged with freezing the bank accounts and other financial assets of countries, companies and individuals who are U.S. enemies. Though obscure to most Americans, the office has encountered significant controversy.

Last Christmas, Grassley and Baucus accused the agency of failing on at least two occasions to freeze the money of people identified by U.S. allies as terrorist financiers.

Richard Newcomb, the career official who has run OFAC for years under both Republican and Democratic presidents, was the subject of an internal investigation in the mid-1990s that concluded he improperly met outside the office with representatives of companies under investigation by his agency and took uncoordinated enforcement actions that potentially compromised criminal investigations

Chiwas
05-05-2004, 11:13 AM
The Treasury Department agency entrusted with blocking the financial resources of terrorists has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's and Saddam Hussein's money, documents show.Maybe because they don't want to find and reveal things, related to Osama, that are compromising.

madape
05-05-2004, 11:16 AM
Mavdog, I know you are a liberal. I know you buy into a whole lot of this left-wing rhetoric. But if you really beleive that the US spends more if it's resources imposing the Cuban embargo than it does fighting terrorism in Iraq, Afganistan, and other areas around the world.. then I really fear for your sanity.

Mavdog
05-05-2004, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by: madape
Mavdog, I know you are a liberal. I know you buy into a whole lot of this left-wing rhetoric. But if you really beleive that the US spends more if it's resources imposing the Cuban embargo than it does fighting terrorism in Iraq, Afganistan, and other areas around the world.. then I really fear for your sanity.

Are you having a lack of comphrehension day?

The issue is not if "the US spends more if it's resources imposing the Cuban embargo than it does fighting terrorism in Iraq, Afganistan, and other areas around the world", and frankly I have no idea where you came up with that.

My assertion was :
It was recently disclosed that the Treasury Dept had more than twice as many people assigned to tracking Cuba's finances than it devoted to trying to unravel the money network of Bin Laden or any other terrorist suspect. This is before and after 9-11.

where's their priorities?

As the AP article stated, it is actually FIVE TIMES the personnel rather than the 2x's in my post.
Pretty appalling, eh? Why would there be a decision to spend so much more resources tracking Cuba's finances than the object of our War on Terror, Bin Laden or al Queda?
Absolutely, totally inexcusable.

madape
05-05-2004, 11:54 AM
I would guess that the CIA, FBI, and NSA would be the primary agencies involved with tracking down the terrorists' money supply. I would also guess that there are more than just a handful of federal agents assigned to gathering intelligence on terror financing. Why do you treat the Treasury Department like this is the only agency active in the war on terror? Is it even supposed to be INVOLVED in the war on terror? What exactly do you want it's role to be?

I'm not questioning your sanity based on your beleif that the US Treasury department assigns more agents to Cuba than it does to Osama Bin Laden. That may very well be true. I'm questioning your sanity because the conclusions you seem to derive from this. The US is spending billions and billions of dollars and hundreds of lives trying to keep this nation safe from terrorist attacks. Your attempt to use this absolutely insignificant piece of trivia to prove otherwise is a little crazy in my opinion.

Mavdog
05-05-2004, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by: madape
I would guess that the CIA, FBI, and NSA would be the primary agencies involved with tracking down the terrorists' money supply.

Well, your guess is wrong.


I would also guess that there are more than just a handful of federal agents assigned to gathering intelligence on terror financing. Why do you treat the Treasury Department like this is the only agency active in the war on terror? Is it even supposed to be INVOLVED in the war on terror? What exactly do you want it's role to be?

Because the Treasury Dept. is responsible for the international movement of monies, that's why. They created a unit in the Dept. specifically for tracking terroristys finances, that's why. long and short...it's their job, not the CIA, or the FBI.


I'm not questioning your sanity based on your beleif that the US Treasury department assigns more agents to Cuba than it does to Osama Bin Laden. That may very well be true.

well gee, after showing you the proof it is so good of you to admit its accuracy. duh...


I'm questioning your sanity because the conclusions you seem to derive from this.

So you conclude something different? That the Treasury SHOULD be devoting 5 x's as many people to working on Cuba's finances than they have working on terrorist's finances? They SHOULD NOT be devoting 5x's as many people to Cuba than terrorism, and the FACT that they did is ridiculous. Just admit such...


The US is spending billions and billions of dollars and hundreds of lives trying to keep this nation safe from terrorist attacks. Your attempt to use this absolutely insignificant piece of trivia to prove otherwise is a little crazy in my opinion.

"Insignifigant"??? hardly, it shows that there is a lack of accountability, as well as a serious deficiency in priortization at Treasury, and therefore the WH under which the Treasury is administered.
To devote manpower to an archaic fixation on Cuba rather than the clear threat of terrorism is inexcusable to say the least. How many Billions and how many lives could be saved with a better allocation of resources to investigating the money trail of terrorists? They can't act without the money, stop the money and they have a lesser chance of striking.

It's surprising that you can't see the mistake of spending so much more manpower focusing on Cuba than terrorists.