USA*Engage Statement on GAO Report on Cuba and "Competing Priorities"

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

“This report highlights just how far down the rabbit hole the U.S. government has gone with respect to Cuba policy. It is tremendously disturbing that enforcing the Cuba embargo would compete with important priorities like fighting terrorism and keeping our borders safe. The resources that are used to enforce the complex Cuba regulations could be put to better use.

The fact that the U.S. Treasury Department is investigating more cases related to Cuba than all of the other sanctions programs it administers – as the report notes – is a serious misuse of taxpayer resources. Our government would seemingly prefer to investigate tourists coming back from Cuba than individuals engaged in weapons proliferation, terrorism and drug trafficking. That’s plain wrong.”

The report, Economic Sanctions: Agencies Face Competing Priorities in Enforcing the U.S. Embargo on Cuba, concludes that “CBP [Customs and Border Protection] data show that the high rate of intensive inspections of arrivals from Cuba, and the resulting seizures, have strained CBP’s capacity to carry out its primary mission of keeping terrorists, criminals, and inadmissable aliens from entering the country at Miami International Airport.”

The report can be found here .