International Bicycle Fund / Ibike Update
CUBA: TRADING WITH THE ENEMY PROSECUTION UPDATE
On March 3, 2005, the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), a division of the Treasury department, and a lead agency in the investigation of terrorism, initiated a proceeding against IBF regarding an alleged violation of the "Trading with the Enemy Act." The specific count is:
"Between, during, on or about February 2000 and December 2000 (IBF) engaged in prohibited transactions involving property, to include: dealing in property by providing and arranging travel services for persons to Cuba and accepting and remitting payment from person to Cuban nationals for visas, lodging, food, and airfare to Cuba, or in which said property Cuba or Cuban nationals had an interest."
As background, the government has been threatening to fine people for having transaction with Cuba or Cubans for decades. If those who were targeted exercised their right to ask for a hearing did so the cases went dormant for years. In October 2003, the prosecutors of these cases (OFAC) hired themselves a number of administrative law judges and have since been holding hearings.
We surmise that we were served when we were because there is a five year statute of limitations on this kind of proceeding and the government wanted to cover alleged activities in 2000. But because the order was issued in March activities in February 2000 may still not be admissible as stated in the order.
It is also not clear to us what the government's case is: Some of their information is from the notoriously reliable internet, like a somewhat hypothetical job announcement, that to this day we have left on our website. But they would be hard put to find anyone we hired for the job because: 1) they never gave us a license, so we could never run the program, and 2) the website says the hiring would be done "local", which is in Cuba, where IBF has no presence. Other evidence comes from a 1998 magazine and a 2001 newspaper article (from which the government has drawn false conclusions.)
It also doesn't seem to matter that no employee of IBF or representative of IBF went to Cuba, issued an airline ticket, arranged for a visa, lodging or meal, or had an transactions with property that Cuba or Cuban national had interest during the year 2000.
We are also fighting the case on the legality of the charge and the process. If you are interested and want more details on these issues please let us know.
The next step is to set a hearing date -- an issue on which the "impartial "judge is siding with the government. Because of time need to prepare for the hearing, and a potentially heavy travel schedule, and other obligations during the summer, we have requested a hearing in September. The government has all of a sudden gotten in a hurry, hurry, hurry mode and wants the hearing in early July.
Being this process is consuming time and resource, and may end-up with a fine, contributions to IBF would be very much appreciated. For details see http://www.ibike.org/fundrainsing.htm.
WINNERS OF THE 2005 STUDENT BICYCLE ESSAY CONTEST
The winners of the 2005 Student Bicycle Essay Contest are: Niki Loo, age 8, Cottonwood Elementary, Lake Elsmore, CA and Stanford Tran, age 16, Wilcox High School, Santa Clara, CA, won the 2005 International Bicycle Fund Student Essay Contest for their respective age groups. Each receives a cash prize. The prize for the 9-12 year old age group is yet to be awarded. The winning essays are posted at www.ibike.org/essays/2005.htm
UPCOMING IBIKE PROGRAMS: COUNTRY YOU SHOULD SEE:
Our cultural travel programs are our main source of revenue. We hope you will support IBF by joining one of these programs: Ecuador: June 26-July 9, for more details see www.ibike.org/ibike/ecuador Tanzania: July 21-August 6, for more details see www.ibike.org/bikeafrica/tanzania.htm Korea: October 9-22, for more details see www.ibike.org/ibike/korea Mali: November 6-19, for more details see www.ibike.org/bikeafrica/mali.htm Vietnam: December 10-24, for more details see www.ibike.org/ibike/vietnam Uganda: January 13-26, 2006, for more details see www.ibike.org/bikeafrica/uganda.htm
VIETNAM PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE PROGRAM ESSAY POSTED
Our Vietnam programs are unique, special and fascinating. Most programs in Vietnam that use bicycle stick pretty much to Highway One and use there "support vehicle" extensive for basic travel - long hours in the bus. While Highway One is pretty enough, it is somewhat homogeneous, has heavy bus and truck traffic and misses 90% of the cultural and ethnic diversity in the country. Yes, Vietnam is diverse, with more than 40 ethnic groups. Similar to Ibike's other programs; our Vietnam programs focus on and are full of diversity and culture. We have posted a photo essay on one of these programs at www.bike.org/ibike/vietnam/central. Our next Vietnam program is in December 2005. We invite you to join us.
TUNISIA ODYSSEY (STAR WARS REVISITED) PROGRAM UPDATE
In April, we had a very fun and interesting program to Tunisia. The program passes a number of locations where Star Wars movies were filmed. Some comments on the trip were:
"It was fabulous. I can't imagine having as much fun if you had not been there." Jeff S.
"I concur with Jeff - it was fabulous... I really had a great time and enjoyed the company of all of our companions. It is quite a remarkable country - more so than I expected (I don't know what I expected!). I'm home feeling happy and rejuvenated and full of stories." Karen W.
"For me also, it was a great time... The best part of the program was the diversity of experiences... [It's] a wonderful and economical way to experience diverse cultures and countries." Joel D.
More comments on the Tunisia program are posted at www.ibike.org/bikeafrica/comments-n.htm. There is a photo essay on the program at www.ibike.org/bikeafrica/tunisia/tunsia.htm.
AFRICA SLIDE SHOW: CULTURE AND TRAVEL
New slideshows on Uganda, Mali, and Senegal have been added to the website. They were all created by Hansruedi Schudel from photos he took during his participation on Bicycle Africa programs. They give a snap shot of the culture and reality one encounters on a village based travel program in Africa. All of them can be accessed from www.ibike.org/ibike/travelogue.htm.
More from International Bicycle Fund:
International Bicycle Fund / Ibike Update
2007 Cycle & Recycle Calendar Celebrates Cycling
International Bicycle Fund / Ibike Update for November, 2007
Corporate Collusion Leads to Price Jumps of $300 for Flying Bicyclist
IBF Announces Essay Contest Winners