The 48-year U.S. embargo on Cuba aims to deny resources to the Castro regime by prohibiting most trade, travel, and financial transactions with Cuba. The departments of Commerce, Homeland Security (DHS), Justice, and the Treasury are responsible for enforcing the embargo as well as protecting homeland and national security. Since 2001, U.S. agencies have changed the embargo's rules in response to new laws and policies. GAO was asked to examine (1) the rule changes in 2001-2005 and their impact on U.S. exports, travel, cash transfers, and gifts to Cuba; (2) U.S. agencies' embargo-related activities and workloads; and (3) factors affecting the embargo's enforcement. GAO analyzed laws, regulations, and agency data, interviewed agency officials, and observed agency activities at Port Everglades and Miami International Airport, Florida.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Homeland Security||In light of the recognized weaknesses in CBP's inspections capacity at major ports of entry, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct CBP to re-evaluate whether the current level of resources focused on secondary inspections of passengers arriving from Cuba at the Miami airport effectively balances its responsibility for enforcing the Cuba embargo with its responsibilities for keeping terrorists, criminals, and inadmissible aliens out of the country.|
|Department of the Treasury||In addition, in light of OFAC's responsibilities for administering more than 20 sanctions programs, including sanctions against countries engaged in terrorism, weapons proliferations, and narcotics trafficking, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct OFAC to assess its allocation of resources for investigating and penalizing violations of the Cuba embargo with respect to the numerous other sanctions programs it administers.|