US To Tighten Enforcement Of Cuba Embargo

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The chief US attorney for Florida has announced formation of a special enforcement team to step up prosecutions of people violating the embargo of Cuba. The clampdown comes as the result of an assessment by a presidential committee formed to help speed the transition of Cuba to democracy.

Alexander Acosta, head of US prosecutors in Florida, promised "more vigorous investigations and more aggressive prosecutions" of anyone violating the four-decade-old US embargo.

US President George W. Bush has ratcheted up pressure on Cuba to speed the demise of its communist leaders, Fidel Castro and his brother, interim president Raul Castro.

In a press conference, Acosta announced creation of a task force made up of officials from several US agencies, which "will strengthen enforcement of sanctions against the Castro regime with the aim of hastening a transition to democracy in Cuba. We will do our part to effectuate president Bush's mandate to speed this transition".

Acosta promised to prosecute import and export of goods to and from Cuba, unapproved visits to the island and transfers of hard currency to and from Cuba.

Creation of the task force was recommended by a presidential Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, which also backed the Cuba Fund for a Democratic Future, a two-year, 80-million-dollar program.

The commission is co-led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, a Cuban-American.

The commission recommended tightening the embargo by better enforcing existing sanctions against the island, including those against companies that supply oil, nickel, tobacco and rum, and by better preventing avoidance of the embargo by those who operate through a third country.

Seems like the sensible thing to do. Castro appears to be dying and if pressure is kept up on the regime, it will likely collapse as have other cult of personality dictatorships over the years. Once the figurehead is gone, the whole rotten structure becomes unstable.

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