September 4, 2001
10:35 AM   Subscribe

Make an Oscar-nominated documentary, get fined $25,000. Ry Cooder gets slapped with a fine from the US Treasury Department for "spending money in Cuba without its permission." Are they pissed because The Buena Vista Social Club was a terrific movie that opened the eyes of millions of Americans to the pointlessness of the Cuban embargo? [via RRE]
posted by mathowie (16 comments total)

 
Ah, our government in action. The Treasury Department has once again proven it has no clue, or is it just out to make money?
posted by bjgeiger at 10:42 AM on September 4, 2001


An interesting article about making the movie.
posted by mmm at 10:47 AM on September 4, 2001


the 1981 Reagan Cuba travel restrictions became unconstitutional about 11 years ago when the Cold War ended.

This I don't understand. Why would the Cold War make them constitutional?
posted by claxton6 at 10:47 AM on September 4, 2001


The Treasury Department has once again proven it has no clue, or is it just out to make money?

Actually, it would appear that the Treasury Department is simply enforcing the law. Perhaps you have a problem with the law that prevents Americans from making business transactions in Cuba, but surely you don't expect the Treasury Department to do something about that, do you?
posted by m.polo at 10:50 AM on September 4, 2001


The sanctions against Cuba are hurting Cubans, while arguably helping Castro. "This travel ban is a Cold War relic of a 40-year policy with respect to Cuba that clearly has failed."

The United Nations has almost unanimously voted for the U.S. to end trade sanctions against Cuba for the last ten years. What's stopping us? Is it just false pride?
posted by waxpancake at 11:06 AM on September 4, 2001


Castro should counter-attack by suing US advertising companies for the cheesy pseudo-Havana backdrops in all the Bacardi commercials. (He's already sued for the trademark, with about a bat in hell's chance of winning)
Not to mention the pathetic pseudo-Monte Cristos, H.Uppman's and all the other fuming rubbish the downtrodden American citizens are forced to puff on, just because their government childishly refuses to treat Cuba normally, i.e., ignore it altogether-
Though when you look at some of the countries the US does do business with - some with alarming contributions in the field of so-called world music - it just makes you want to buy that second copy of the Buena Vista record just to top up poor old Ry Cooder's depleted coffers. Don't it?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2001


is it just false pride?
No, it's the Cuban exile community, combined with a few strategic political partnerships.
posted by aramaic at 11:19 AM on September 4, 2001


No clue, because if he had gotten premision he could spend money. So had much did he spend in Cuba making this film? Who got the money, the people or the Cuban government? The Cuban embargo may have been a good thing in the 1960's but has outlived its time.
posted by bjgeiger at 11:22 AM on September 4, 2001


I assume that they'll be slapping fines on the CIA for its covert funding of anti-Castro operations in Cuba, yes?
posted by holgate at 11:35 AM on September 4, 2001


I agree with the comments above and the article. However, it is important to keep in mind that a lot of american companies lost a lot of assets after Castro confiscated them in the 60s. What should be done to make things right on that front?
posted by Witold at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2001


Right wing Miami Cubans=State of Florida's electoral votes
posted by preguicoso at 12:38 PM on September 4, 2001


Foreign policy review: sanctions keep the powerful where they are. This happens because if people are having a hard time just eating (let alone gathering weapons to overthrow their masters), they tend to gravitate to established power structures. See Iraq, Yugoslavia, etc. In this case, they mostly wanted to make communism look bad. The side effect being that the entire population has to suffer. As long as the embargo is up Castro will be in power.

In ‘96, the Helms-Burton bill, which was signed by Clinton, tightened the embargo after Cuba shot down two civilian airplanes. Bush has made it known he’ll veto any bill that aims to lift the sanctions, despite bipartisan support. (Whats the meaning of working in a bipartisan spirit, kids?)

Americans, travel to Cuba! It's a great time and relatively simple (so I’ve read). Travel agencies in Mexico City and Canada cater to Americans traveling to Havana. Keep a loose piece of paper in your passport, when you pass customs make sure the agent stamps the piece of paper. Toss it when arriving in back Mexico. My bags have been riffled through by American customs agents, so I suggest not bringing much, if anything, back. Also: Cuban chix are hot!

Don’t use any credit cards or travellers cheques. American dollars are honored, to Castro’s chagrin.
posted by raaka at 12:46 PM on September 4, 2001


"Are they pissed because The Buena Vista Social Club was a terrific movie that opened the eyes of millions of Americans to the pointlessness of the Cuban embargo?"

Naaa... They just don't appreciate great music. Ry Cooder's the man!

"No, it's the Cuban exile community, combined with a few strategic political partnerships."
Very astute observation. The CIA, the Mafia, and gambling in Havana to be more precise.

"it is important to keep in mind that a lot of american companies lost a lot of assets after Castro confiscated them in the 60s. What should be done to make things right on that front?"

Well, if we could establish normal relations with Cuba it should be no problem with making Havana the Las Vegas of the Carribean and the Mafia would be right back where they left off. Only this time they would not be the Miami Vice squad who are feeling so disenfranchised by Castro.
posted by nofundy at 12:53 PM on September 4, 2001


I assume that they'll be slapping fines on the CIA for its covert funding of anti-Castro operations in Cuba, yes?


I would assume that the CIA has permission.
posted by delmoi at 4:14 PM on September 4, 2001


Does it have to submit itemised invoices? Or does it have blanket permission? Can it fund gently subversive films about musicians?
posted by holgate at 4:22 PM on September 4, 2001


I really don't agree with laws that force a personal moral choice on to the entire population. Embargos on travel and war drafts *should* be unconstitutional. If a war is worth fighting or a country is too horrible for us to visit, Americans would sign up voluntarily to fight or would not visit the backwards country. No need for a govt. to force these types of things on us.
posted by Kevs at 10:31 PM on September 4, 2001


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