Compliant Under Trump Administration’s New Policy
On June 16, 2017, President Trump announced new changes in the policy toward Cuba, which our programs already comply 100%. On July 24th, 2017 we sought confirmation and received from OFAC our amendment approval reference case: CT-2017-345990-1.
On July 25, 2017, OFAC released new guidance on frequently asked questions related to Cuba.
Trump’s directive will not interfere or change Humanitarian – Environmental general license category (515.575). He also made it clear that OFAC will avoid negatively impacting American
businesses for engaging in lawful Cuba-related commercial engagement that includes direct transactions with entities and subentities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy will be permitted after the issuance of new regulations by OFAC, provided that those commercial engagements were in place prior to the issuance of the forthcoming regulations (which our company has had a signed agreement since February 28, 2017 well before the issuance of Trumps directive on June 16, 2017)
As of July 25, 2017 here are pertinent frequently asked questions published by OFAC:
Will group people-to-people travel still be authorized?
OFAC Says: Yes. Group people-to-people travel is educational travel not involving academic study
pursuant to a degree program that takes place under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. Travelers utilizing this travel authorization must:
(i) maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba; and (ii) be accompanied by an employee, consultant, or agent of the sponsoring organization, who will ensure that each traveler maintains a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities. In addition, the predominant portion of the activities engaged in by individual travelers must not be with prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba or prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party (as defined in the regulations). Once OFAC issues the new regulations, new individual people-to-people travel will not be authorized.
Our Programs: Our programs are under humanitarian-environmental general license and all group travel is led by an employee or paid consultant of our organization to ensure strict adherence to a full-time schedule of activities. Participants in our travel programs maintain a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with and support the Cuban people while learning side by side about their environment to gather information for the environmental project, the Cuba Ecology book. Each humanitarian group is accompanied by an AW Futures, LLC employee or consultant who is a United States citizen that leads the full time schedule in Cuba.
Will organizations subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsor exchanges to promote
people-to-people contact be required to apply to OFAC for a specific license?
OFAC Says: No. To the extent that proposed travel falls within the scope of an existing general license, including group people-to-people educational travel, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may proceed with sponsoring such travel without applying to OFAC for a Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) 2 specific license. It is OFAC’s policy not to grant applications for a specific license authorizing transactions where a general license is applicable. Once the State Department publishes its list of entities and sub-entities with which direct transactions will not be authorized and OFAC issues its regulations, no new transactions, including travel-related transactions, may be initiated with these identified entities and sub-entities. Prior travel arrangements that may involve these entities or sub-entities will still be authorized.
Our Programs: Our personal correspondence with OFAC and amended application indicates approval (CT-2017-345990-1) for general licensed travel under 515.575 Humanitarian travel. Our attorney (who previously worked for OFAC under the Obama administration) has thoroughly reviewed our itinerary and determined it cleanly fits well within this general license category.