back to article US software firm sentenced for 'trading with the enemy'

A US software company has been sentenced by a federal judge for "trading with the enemy." Platte River Associates, a geologic modeling firm in Colorado, was fined $14,500 for selling software used to make a model for potential exploration and development of oil and gas within the territorial waters of Cuba, the US Department …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Cuba the enemy?

    WTF? they threaten the USA with their Cuban cigars and first class health system? It never ceases to amaze how the merkins find new ways to look stupid. Guess the Mafia never forgave Castro for chucking them out. And what if the Cubans found oil or gas in their waters? Afraid another latin american country will have some goodies they can't get their hands on. Or is it just wait for Castro and friends to die, de-stabilise the country and walk in, then explore for oil and gas. Their behaviour disgusts me. One great thing about Cuba is that when you go there for a holiday, there are no merkins about...LOL not allowed to travel there, a bit soviet, travel restrictions eh?

  2. Trevor 7

    Please pull this article quick!

    It actually shows border laptop searches catching criminals!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Other software ?

    Amazing I thought I had seen copies of Windows running in Cuba !

    may be it was some thing else ?

    Or maybe windows is not useful for an enemy !

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why are they the enemy again?

    I'm not even sure if they're the enemies of a significant number of individuals; so how are they the enemies of the whole country again?

    I thought Obama wanted to extend a helping hand...

  5. Mike Shepherd

    More whining

    Decades after a few staff were seized in Iran, the US still whines and whines, declaring that country part of an "axis of evil".

    Decades after events in Cuba that few remember, the US still whines and whines, now describing Cuba as another "rogue state". (US Under Secretary of State John "Yosemite Sam" Bolton, 6th May 2002).

    I'd hate to be American. If they're not worrying about a red under the bed, they're worrying about something else. Even if every citizen had his own nuclear weapon, they'd whine and worry, worry and whine. It's the land of the free and the home of the paranoid.

  6. asdf

    why now

    Why is this coming out now? Obama was pushing to improve relations with Cuba and show the world Republican neocon foreign policy is dead (you know take everyone else stuff, tell the rest of the world how to behave but don't do so yourself, and generally get every country in the world to hate you and then say they are all just jealous). This happened in 2000 and they just now settled it? I guess Obama is happy to get any story to take the heat of his epic fail health care debacle.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    America, get over Cuba!!!!

    Bunch of self-important jack asses.

  8. Steve Evans


    Glad you made the comparison to the mp3 fines...

    $14,500 must be such a huge sum to a company involved with oil exploration.

  9. kain preacher


    Because of the Cubans in America. You have a group of wealthy Cubans in America that wont give up on trying to screw Castro over . So while the rest of America could not care they do. Proof that wealth minority can still get their way.

  10. Jean-Luc

    Bloody right it was heinous!

    "Trading with the enemy is a serious crime, and in this case, a Colorado company has been rightfully held accountable for committing that crime," stated United States Attorney David Gaouette.

    $14500? That's all? The owners should have been sent to deathrow, Mr. Gaouette. At least. At the very least.

    This is why the US needs waterboarding back.

  11. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Cuba, and Obama

    "WTF? they threaten the USA with their Cuban cigars and first class health system? It never ceases to amaze how the merkins find new ways to look stupid. Guess the Mafia never forgave Castro for chucking them out."

    That's EXACTLY it. Kennedy had some investment in Cuba, and was pissed when he lost it. There's only really 1 party here (Democrats and Republicans have such similar policies, it's uncanny.. they'll fight over WHY they hate freedom, want a huge intrusive government, etc., but end up with the same results.) They don't want to give up complaining about big bad Cuba. Some of us DO vote Libertarian, Green, etc., but everyone else is convinced they "have" to vote for one of the 2 indistinguishable main parties.

    "I thought Obama wanted to extend a helping hand..."

    Obama said a lot of things while he was running for office. I figured out he was BS'ing a lot when he spoke out against the illegal warrantless wiretaping and how the telephone companies shouldn't be let off the hook for their part in this, then voted FOR telecom immunity. The one thing he really wants to change is to have a proper healthcare coverage, but one bill has already weakened this to "fine people who don't have medical insurance". WTF... people don't have medical insurance because they can't afford the premiums*, fining them won't help.

    *There's a few "cheap" insurance plans but they're a joke -- one I was offered had a $500 deductable and only covered the next $500 in expenses. (Plus no dental or eyecare.) So most stuff would be <$500 and I'd pay for it insurance or not, and almost everything else is $10,000+ where covering $500 out of it is a joke, I'm bankrupted either way. I'll be PISSED if I'm forced to pay for some crap like that to avoid being fined.

  12. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Cuba == bad

    ... since the days of the missile crisis, which left a huge impression on Americans.

    Supposedly, JFK was working through a reporter go-between to arrange better diplomatic relations when he was assassinated. Ever since then, it's all been frozen into a '60s-era stasis.

    Cuba's now the American version of Taiwan.

    It's all pretty damn retarded, but hey, these days that's standard for America. I certainly avoid American-made crap like the plague. All my stuff is mostly Japanese made.

  13. James O'Brien

    New unit of measurement?

    "(It should be noted, however, that while trading with the enemy is essentially light treason in the eyes of the United States government — Platte's fine is 0.75% of the damages had the company illegally downloaded 24 songs.)"

    I actually like this unit for measuring stuff as it continues to show how f*cked up the justice system is when it comes to awarding fines.

  14. Daniel 4

    @Mike Shepherd

    Speaking as an American, if every American had their own nuclear weapon (and the means to deliver it), then the entire world should be scared out of their minds. There are actually a lot of very nice, sane, rational people here, but the batshit crazy ones would trigger Armageddon in the firm belief that they'd be doing God's work. Believe me, I do not exaggerate - some of those people are my neighbors.



  15. raving angry loony


    Hmm. So Microsoft can sell Windows in Cuba, but these guys can't sell their software? Something is very wrong with the American government. Oh, wait, we knew that already. As you were then.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    I used to be endlessly amused ...

    ... by the hilarious accounts from Americans of what they had to do to get in and out of Cuba undetected.

    Thing is, Americans want to go to Cuba and they will find ways of doing it regardless. About time their government woke up.

    Even if the US wanted to improve relations with Cuba, I'm not entirely sure how favorably Havana would look on it. Personally, I like going somewhere in the world where there isn't a MacD's to be seen.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    @Cuba the enemy?

    Lets not forget that Castro did a deal with the Soviets to base Soviet nuclear missiles a stones throw from the US east coast. That this act nearly bought the two superpowers to the brink of a nuclear war (which would have been bad for the rest of us) and that the Castro regime is still going, I think it is fair for the Yanks to hold a grudge, even after so long, no matter how silly it sounds.

    But just imagine is Obama did thaw relations with Cuba, Fox news would think all their Xmas's had come at once.

    (IT WTF? for my comment, not the article)

  18. Lars Silver badge

    Cuba, made bye the USA

    The funny thing with Cuba is that is still a communist country, I think. But the only reason it is still a communist country is the USA trade embargo. It might not have been the original intent of the trade embargo, perhaps.

    And take North Korea, the only way to "change" it, is bye trade. Trade is a Trojan Horse.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America is NOT a democracy

    America is not run by the President, it is not run in the interest of the american citizen, It is run By and For Big Business.

    The General population is only thier to work and spend thier money in order to make very rich corprations even richer.

    Just do some searching on "Special Interest Groups" in America to see just how corrupt the American political structure is.

    It doesnt matter who you vote for, they are all corrupt :(

  20. Charles Manning

    Need to keep them in the bad bucket

    USA needs someone to fear. Helps to keep the citizens in check.

  21. John Savard Silver badge


    The software in question was never handed to anyone in Cuba. It was sold to a Spanish company. That this Spanish company might use it for oil exploration activities in Cuba would, one would think, be a question for Spanish authorities to examine.

    It could be argued that this American software is still helping Cuba, but America trades with many countries in the world that do not consider Cuba an enemy, even if - like China - we may not entirely approve of its government.

  22. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Light treason Vs depriving a global corp of some cash.

    So pretty obvious what has the higher penalty.

    On a more serious note. the Castro Kennedy thing is complex. Castor's predecessor was a US client called IIRC Batista. He was reputedly very reasonable about Casino licensing to the Mafia of the time. The coup put a big dent in their profits. The Kennedy administration's policy could be described as "ambivalent." Hence the lack of naval support when the Bay of Pigs invasion went sideways leaving a *lot* of angy ex-pat Cubans to remain a permanent PITA of US/Cuban relations for the next 5 decades.

    Cuba is a Communist state. As is the Republic of China and North Korea. Unlike them it has no known missile or nuclear development projects. Somehow the US manages to deal with (including importing billions of dollars of merchandise from China a year) them in a way it cannot with Cuba.

    Of course better relations and more cooperation might also reduce the flow of cocaine through Florida in a recession and we would'nt want that, would we?

  23. Cheshire Cat

    Clearly political

    All this effort for a tiny fine over something so insignificant?

    Clearly someone in the US is scared that Cuba might discover oil and suddenly be able to do even better, despite the USA's best efforts to economically cripple them...

    The USA's foreign policy towards Cuba seems very similar to pre-pubescent girls squabbling in the playground ('Im not your friend any more and I'm going to stop anyone else playing with you.. EVER!')

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Two points:

    @Trevor 7

    "It actually shows border laptop searches catching criminals!"

    No, it shows border laptop searches searching travellers from foreign countries; I'm guessing that no criminal charges were brought against the Repsol employee as he wasn't an American and it's only a crime for Americans to trade with Cuba.

    @Gene Cash

    "Cuba's now the American version of Taiwan."

    Except that Cuba has never been a part of the USA; maybe one day though...

    Still; it's good to see that the US security services are fully capable of tackling the threat of a tiny country that's allied to a foreign power that no longer exists!

  25. Deckchair

    A little perspecitve perhaps?

    Here's a small thought, perhaps the small fine reflected the fact that the US no longer views Cuba as any sort of threat.

  26. Hugh_Pym
    Thumb Up

    Agree with JamesO'Brien

    Can this be added to the Register list of units as the official unit of measure for damages and fines.

  27. Andus McCoatover

    Trading with the enemy?

    Guantano bay detention centre leased from Cuba? Huh???? What's the difference?

    Isn't that a bit like if the British rented Auschwitz from Adolf?

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