New OFAC guidelines encourage funding of private businesses
Under new guidelines for Cuba-related applications, the U.S. agency in
charge of enforcing sanctions is encouraging sending funds to private
businesses on the island.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) created a license category
allowing remittances "to individuals or independent non-governmental
entities to support the development of private businesses, including
Assistance to a private business in Cuba up to $2,000 per year can be
sent without having to apply for a license; amounts in excess of $2,000
can be sent after OFAC grants a specific license.
The Cuban government is encouraging the creation of small businesses and
private farming. More than 180,000 "self-employment" licenses have been
issued since last fall, and the government granted more than 110,000
long-term leases of fallow farmland to private farmers.
As examples, OFAC cites "a U.S. charitable organization [wishing] to
transfer funds to Cuba to support the rebuilding of poultry production
farms and to provide training sessions to local poultry farmers," and
"an individual [wishing] to send $1,000 to a Cuban national to buy the
equipment necessary to start a small business."