PayPal blocks Cuba-themed fun night

So­cial­ists left stunned

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

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

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