WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
20 Dec 2007 | News

GAO Finds Cuba Embargo Strains Homeland Security

A newly-released report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s inspections of Americans traveling from Cuba is jeopardizing U.S. national security.

According to the report, the CPB’s inspections of Americans traveling from Cuba "have strained C.B.P.'s capacity to carry out its primary mission of keeping terrorists, criminals and inadmissible aliens from entering the country at Miami International Airport.”

The report was issued at the request of Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). Both Members endorse GAO’s recommendations and call on the Bush administration to revoke its short-sighted policies on Cuba and direct the Departments of Homeland Security and Treasury to promptly address the weaknesses, vulnerabilities and misplaced priorities observed by GAO.

The GAO report is also critical of OFAC (the Office for Foreign Assets Control) for the agencies’ grossly disproportional focus on enforcing trade sanctions on Cuba. Between 2000 and 2006, 61 percent of the agency's investigation and penalty caseload involved Cuba embargo cases.

Please click here to read the press statement from Reps. Rangel and Lee.