Cuba: Philips Denies Castro's Accusations
- Submitted by: admin
- Business and Economy
- 09 / 09 / 2009
'Because of the complexity of the application of the rules to the transactions, the company did not obtain all the licences required' for the delivery of spare parts for medical equipment, Philips said in a statement.
'We have disclosed the matter, cooperated fully, accepted the penalties and improved our procedures to prevent similar recurrences.'
Castro on Monday slammed the company as a 'traitor' for failing to deliver the parts under pressure from the United States, which has had a full economic embargo on Cuba since 1962.
He claimed that in 2006, at the request of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Cuba bought from Philips and Germany's Siemens thousands of pieces of advanced medical equipment for the two countries.
Oil-rich Venezuela is Cuba's key regional ally, and keeps Havana's deeply strained central economy just barely afloat.
While the United States has made enough loopholes in its own sanctions to become a leading supplier of food to Cuba, most US industrial and manufactured goods still cannot be sold directly to the Americas' lone communist government.
While Siemens 'kept its promises", Philips did not deliver on time the 3,553 pieces of equipment worth US$72.8 million (S$103 million) due to what Castro called 'brutal intransigence' on the part of unnamed US authorities. Only in June did Philips deliver the needed spare parts, Castro said, after it paid a 100,000-euro fine to the Obama government.
'No one has compensated Cubans, or Venezuelan patients under the care of doctors, for the human suffering caused,' Castro wrote in an editorial in official media. 'While the Cuban government is entitled to their interpretation of this settlement, it is not a matter of if Philips can sell medical equipment to Cuba, but how - ensuring we adhere to relevant export laws and the laws of all countries in which we operate,' said the statement.
Philips said it would continue to sell medical equipment to Cuba, 'with the appropriate licences'.
Source: Straits Times