Ministry of Foreign Relations Statement

On June 30, the United States Departments of Treasury and Justice, and the state of New York levied a record 8.97 million file against the French bank BNP Paribas, for not abiding by the unilateral U.S. government sanctions on several countries. In the specific case of Cuba, this banking institution is accused of having “processed thousands of transactions with Cuban entities, totaling over 700 thousand million dollars,” according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

This fine, which is the largest in history imposed by the U.S. government for violations of the blockade on Cuba, and existing sanctions against third countries, violates international law and represents illegal, extraterritorial enforcement of U.S. law against a foreign entity.

At a time when a Free Trade Agreement between the United States and the European Union is being negotiated, one might ask if this is the way the U.S. government will continue to treat its allies, and question the usefulness of European regulations and laws to the contrary, if they are not enforced to protect sovereignty and the interests of national entities and of those affected by these arbitrary actions.

BNP Paribas joins the long list of financial, commercial, economic and other entities, both U.S. and foreign, which have been subjected to punitive measures, in the context of a tightening blockade and, in particular, financial persecution of Cuba.

With this new fine, the Obama administration surpasses all predecessors, having imposed dozens of fines on entities for a total of more than 11 billion dollars, levied in accordance with regulations associated with various sanctions.

Once again, the U.S. government ignores the overwhelming international condemnation of this failed, criminal policy against our nation. With actions such as these, also ignored are the growing demands of various sectors of U.S. society for a fundamental change in policy toward Cuba.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounces this attack against the sovereignty of states, the norms of free trade and international law.

Havana, July 2, 2014

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