CA’s AG Jerry Brown may have violated U.S. sanctions against Cuba

Eileen McGuire-Mahony

This article was originally published on October 5, 2010 at 2:41 PM and was updated on October 6, 2010 at 3:24 PM to reflect a request from the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Public Affairs to clarify the legal requirements for travel to Cuba under the current sanctions.

SAN FRANCISCO, California: California’s gubernatorial race has come to blows involving individuals within the Latino community. Nearly a week after Meg Whitman was dealt a political setback with allegations over her dismissal of a maid who was an illegal resident in the United States, State Attorney General Jerry Brown is now facing a scandal of his own.

According to allegations, a July 2000 political junket that Jerry Brown and staff took to Cuba was in violation of America’s sanctions against the Communist dictatorship. Brown’s trip came when his political ambitions were at a relative lull; years had passed since his failed Presidential bid and his tenure as California’s Attorney General were still years off. In those days, he was just the Mayor of Oakland, officially making a trip to formalize Oakland’s sister-city status with Santiago de Cuba. Fidel Castro, Cuba’s “Maximum Leader”, on the other hand, was riding a PR high, having secured the return of six-year old Elian Gonzalez from Miami where the child had been staying with family; Brown, during the week in spent in the island, himself enjoyed a meal with Gonzalez and spent substantial time with Castro.

While Brown’s trip has been a matter of public record for a decade, the fresh attention it is receiving comes from an article, published in The Daily Beast and the San Francisco Chronicle, detailing Brown’s movements on the island and reporting snippets of conversation. The author, Ann Louise Bardach, an expert on Cuba, was in Havana at the time covering the Elian Gonzalez story; she met with Brown at the beginning of his week-long trip.

Now, reports are saying Brown’s entire trip was set up by a former CIA agent who became a double agent for Cuba before defecting to the island. Phillip Agee, a CIA expert on Latin America in the 1960s, divulged the names of hundred of American agents before fleeing the United States in the mid-1970s; many in America’s intelligence community believe information he divulged led to at least one murder. MI6, Britain’s intelligence agency, also connects the assassinations of two of their agents in Poland to Agee’s leaked info.  After setting up in Havana, he reinvented himself as a travel agent, and eventually came to count Jerry Brown as a client.

The article continues at Ballotpedia

H/T National Review

At Babalu Blog Alberto de la Cruz posted an article Jerry Brown’s Castro problem.

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