Office of the Spokesperson
January 16, 2017
On January 16, the United States and Cuba signed a bilateral Law Enforcement Memorandum of Understanding to deepen law enforcement cooperation and information sharing.
Under this memorandum, the United States and Cuba will continue the Law Enforcement Dialogue process, which includes technical exchanges on specific law enforcement issues of mutual concern such as counternarcotics, money laundering, fraud and human smuggling, and counterterrorism.
U.S. Embassy Havana Chargé d’Affaires Jeffrey DeLaurentis signed for the United States and Minister of the Interior Vice Admiral Julio César Gandarilla signed on behalf of Cuba. This MOU was negotiated as part of the Law Enforcement Dialogue, which is co-chaired for the United States by the Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security.
Text of the MOU follows:
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA ON LAW ENFORCEMENT COOPERATION
The United States of America and the Republic of Cuba, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Participants’,
Aware of the negative impact on the national security of both countries of transnational crimes, including but not limited to terrorist acts; illicit drug trafficking; crimes committed through the use of information and communication technologies, and cyber security issues of mutual concern; trafficking in persons; smuggling of migrants; trafficking in wildlife; money laundering; forgery of travel and identity documents; contraband including firearms and their parts, components, ammunition and explosives, cash money and monetary instruments; and other crimes within the jurisdiction of both countries;
Recognizing the need to establish cooperation between law enforcement agencies of both nations to effectively confront such challenges and other criminal matters;
Desiring to promote and expand operational collaboration to counter terrorism, illicit drug traffic, cybercrime and cybersecurity, trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, money laundering, fraudulent documents, contraband and other transnational crimes, and to enhance assistance in criminal matters;
Respecting the principles of sovereign equality of states and non-interference in their internal affairs;
Recognizing the objectives of international conventions adopted by the Participants in the framework of the United Nations; including the conventions against illicit traffic in narcotics and psychotropic substances; against transnational organized crime and its supplementary protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling; on the means to prohibit and prevent illicit import, export, and transfer of ownership of cultural property; against international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora; and conventions against terrorism;
Taking note of the Participants’ meeting of November 9, 2015 in Washington D.C., on the occasion of the first Law Enforcement Dialogue, where the Participants stated their intention to adopt this Memorandum of Understanding (‘Memorandum’) to establish an adequate framework for future cooperation on law enforcement;
The Participants have reached the following understanding:
Establish the areas, bases and ways to promote collaboration between the law enforcement agencies of the United States of America and Cuba.
Promote security and law enforcement coordination between the Participants, in accordance with the national laws of both countries. All activities reflected in this Memorandum are intended to be reciprocal in nature.
For the purposes of this Memorandum, the Participants intend that:
- “Terrorist actions”: Refers to such actions so defined in the United Nations conventions on terrorism to which both Participants are a party.
- “Illicit traffic in narcotics and psychotropic substances”: The same meaning as the term “illicit traffic” in Article 1(m) of the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, done at Vienna, December 20, 1988 (“the 1988 UN Drug Convention”), to which both Participants are a party.
- “Contraband”: Refers to actions undertaken in concealment, through deceit or cover up and/or through any other method aimed at the introduction, extraction or transfer of merchandises, substances or any other object to, from or through the national territory of the Participants, in violation of their respective national laws;
- “Trafficking in persons”: The same meaning as in Article 3(a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, done at Palermo, November 15, 2000, to which both Participants are a party.
- “Migrant smuggling”: The same meaning as the term “smuggling of migrants” in Article 3(a) of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, done at Palermo, November 15, 2000, to which both Participants are a party.
- “Chemical substances”: Refers to chemical elements or compounds used in the illicit production, manufacture or preparation of the narcotics and psychotropic substances listed in Tables I and II of the 1988 UN Drug Convention, including chemical elements or compounds used in the illicit production of explosives.
- “Transnational crimes”: The same meaning as in Article 3(2) of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, done at Palermo, November 15, 2000 (“UNTOC”), to which both Participants are a party.
- “Serious crimes”: The same meaning as in Article 2(b) of the UNTOC.
- “Law enforcement officials”: Refers to all appointed and/or elected officials who exercise police functions or provide police services, and are entitled to make arrests or detentions under the respective jurisdiction of the Participants.
- “Customs authority”: An official who as pertaining to law and/or in the exercise of his or her duties is entitled to demand and control the observance of legal provisions in the area of customs.
- In the context of this Memorandum and subject to their national laws, including applicable international conventions to which both are parties, the Participants state their intention to collaborate in the prevention, interdiction, monitoring, investigation and prosecution of:a) Terrorist acts;
b) Illicit production, manufacturing, trafficking, sale, and distribution of narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors, or other chemical substances used for illegal purposes;
c) Crimes committed through the use of information and communication technologies, and cyber security issues of mutual concern;
d) Migrant smuggling as well as forgery of identity and travel papers, and other crimes related to migration fraud;
e) Trafficking in persons, and the sale of persons, prostitution, use of children and adolescents in pornography, and other forms of sex abuse;
f) Laundering of assets;
g) Trafficking in any kind of contraband goods, including fire arms, their parts, components, ammunition, explosives, cash money and monetary instruments and other crimes involving cultural heritage, and the illegal trade in wild flora and fauna, and wildlife products, including protected and endangered species; and
h) Other transnational or serious crimes under jurisdiction of the Participants.
- In the context of this Memorandum, the Participants intend, through their respective agencies and officials from relevant law enforcement entities, to engage in:a) Exchange of information;
b) Sharing of experiences, good practices and methodologies, among other elements of bilateral interest; and
c) Coordinated operations to investigate events related to identified criminal activities.
- To achieve the above mentioned, the Participants intend to establish communication channels and points of contact between law enforcement officials of the two countries through various means, including the possibility of designating liaison officers in their respective territories, using bilateral arrangements or operational procedures, and through meetings of the Law Enforcement Dialogue;
- The Participants, through the Law Enforcement Dialogue, intend to establish within its framework a series of technical working groups to address the following specific areas of law enforcement collaboration:a) Counter-terrorism;
c) Cybercrime and cybersecurity;
d) Alien smuggling and migration fraud;
e) Money laundering and related crimes;
f) Secure trade and protection of persons;
g) Legal cooperation in criminal matters; and
h) Trafficking in persons.
Also, the Participants may jointly decide to establish new technical working groups.
- The Participants intend the meetings of the Law Enforcement Dialogue to provide a framework for discussion of U.S.-Cuba law enforcement cooperation, and to review exchanges at the technical working groups, with the goal of enhancing cooperation between the Participants. To that end, the Participants intend to hold meetings of the Law Enforcement Dialogue twice a year.
- The Participants intend to resolve any disagreements arising from the interpretation or implementation of this Memorandum through consultations and/or negotiations, by mutual consent, and through the Law Enforcement Dialogue.
- Under this Memorandum, the Participants intend to use Spanish and English as working languages.
IV. Duration, Modifications or Discontinuation
Cooperation under this Memorandum is intended to begin on the date of its signature by the Participants and to continue for two years, automatically renewable for similar successive periods, provided neither of the Participants states a position to the contrary. In the case that either Participant decides to cease collaboration as described in this Memorandum, it intends to notify the other Participant in writing no less than 90 (ninety) days in advance.
Signed at Havana, on January 16, 2017, in duplicate, in the English and Spanish languages.
For the United States of America For the Republic of Cuba