PayPal blocks Cuba-themed fun night
Socialists left stunned
Members of a Rutherglen political party branch were left stunned when PayPal refused to take payment for an event they have organised - because it celebrates communist Cuba.
The Scottish Socialist Party are hosting the Cuban-themed night at the Glencairn Venue on Friday ( July 24).
Branch secretary David McClemont set up an event on Eventbright so people could buy tickets online, which was linked to his PayPal account.
But when people started buying tickets last week, he received an email from PayPal saying he could be “in violation of export restrictions.”
The email states: “As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system.
“PayPal is committed to complying with and meeting its global regulatory obligations. One obligation is to ensure that our customers, merchants, and partners are also in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, in their use of PayPal.
“PayPal ’ s Compliance Department has reviewed your account and identified activity that may be in violation of export restrictions.
“It has come to our attention that you’re advertising PayPal as a method of payment for the sale of goods and services originating from one or more of the countries subject to export restrictions.”
The message further advises David to remove PayPal as a payment option, disallow PayPal as a method of payment for any goods or services originating from Cuba, or remove all goods or services originating from Cuba from his website.
He’s been told if he does not comply, his account will be limited from August 1.
A bemused David told the Reformer: “I was aware of the extent that companies are under pressure from the US Government not to associate or do business with Cuba but even I am surprised that a company as large as PayPal would care about a small Cuba- themed party happening in Rutherglen.”
Diplomatic ties between Cuba and the US were stopped in 1959 when Fidel Castro and his brother Raul led a revolution toppling US-backed President Fulgencio Batista. The Castros established a revolutionary socialist state with close ties to the Soviet Union and in 1961, relations were severed completely. A year later, the US imposed a trade embargo.
But only this week, relations took a major step forward when the diplomatic missions of each country became full embassies and the Cuban flag was flown in Washington.
The Reformer contacted PayPal through their online press office, but no-one had responded when we went to press.
The event is to raise money for the local party branch so they can stand a candidate at next year’s Scottish elections.
And David has vowed it will still happen: “We won’t let this stop the event going ahead and I would ask anyone still wanting to enjoy a night of Cuban Music that they contact the branch through Twitter (@RutherglenSSP), Facebook ( www.facebook.com/RutherglenSSP or by email, RutherglenSSP@outlook.com rather than online since we don’t know when this issue will be resolved.”
We won’t let this stop the event going ahead
Surprised SSP Rutherglen branch secretary David McClemont