The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the folks who handle bans on doing business with certain countries, communists, terrorists, Putin’s pals and other assorted ne’er-do-wells, maintains a “specially designated nationals” list so people will know not to deal with such folks.
But just as people can be put on the list, sometimes they can be “de-listed,” especially if they are long de-ceased.
So on Tuesday, OFAC updated its “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDN) list, adding some companies in Bosnia, Kosovo and Montenegro and de-listing 59 Cuban fishing, shipping and tourism companies, mostly based in Panama, as well some individuals.
This cleansing prompted some to speculate that the move may be linked to the Obama administration’s recently announced intention to restore relations with Cuba. Knowledgeable officials in a couple of departments tell us that’s not the case.
A Treasury official called it a “housekeeping,” cleaning up the lists as they do periodically. We’re told that some folks on the list are dead, companies are defunct, vessels are sunk or changed ownership.
For example, one official said OFAC “designated Amado Padron Trujillo as a specially designated national of Cuba on September 26, 1986 because [it] found reason to believe that [he] acted for or on behalf of” the Cuban government. Seems his Ministry of Interior job included “finding ways to counter the U.S. embargo against Cuba. ” He also “worked for the Cuban Export-Import Corporation (CIMEX) and administered one of Cuba’s trading companies in Panama.”
Unfortunately, the aforesaid Padron Trujillo “was executed on July 13, 1989 along with . . . General Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez and two others, all found guilty of treason against . . . Cuba”, OFAC concluded. So that meant “Padron Trujillo is deceased, and therefore, the circumstances no longer warrant [his] inclusion on the SDN List.”
Then there’s Alfred Kaufman Stern, a wealthy businessman and major contributor to the U.S. communist party who, along with his wife, Martha Dodd, fled the country and settled in Prague after they were indicted in 1957. The couple, who married in 1938, spent a few years in Cuba in the 1960s but went back to Prague. He died there in 1986 and Martha died in 1990.
(Loop Fans and readers of the great book “In the Garden of Beasts” may recall that Martha was the extremely active daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Germany during Hitler’s rise in the 1930s. She had numerous lovers there, including, simultaneously, a senior Nazi official and a Soviet spy, who was later executed by Stalin. She also is said to have had a dalliance with Hitler, who apparently rejected her.)