PERFORMANCE fees due to an American soul singer who played a gig at Cuba nightclub in Galway city last month were blocked by a bank in the United States because of that country's trade embargo with the Caribbean island nation run by Fidel Castro. Marlena Shaw, whose hits include 'Woman of the Ghetto' and 'California Soul, ' and who featured on a recent Coca Cola ad campaign, received her money only after strong assurances were given to the Americans that the nightclub had no connection with the Castro government.The American Bank replied
"This transaction cannot be applied due to the reference to Cuba. This reference is similar to an entity related to sanctions against the country of Cuba as provided by the US treasury office of foreign assets control."Continued
A bit of background.
Donal Ward, of Cuba nightclub, said: "The payment was to have been made prior to the performance and the problem could have led to the show being cancelled. However, it was only about a week after that we were notified there was a problem and that the transfer had been blocked. The reference in the transfer was clearly to Cuba, Galway and clearly indicated it was a music venue in Ireland."
He added: "We always make clear in transactions that this is a venue in Galway and nothing to do with politics. This follows a previous problem around 2000 when a band called Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers played. Then a US money transfer was stopped but that time the reference was to 'Pucho's money for Cuba'."
Cuba opened in 1998 as a Latin-themed bar with Salsa dancing, serving cocktails and cigars. When the nightclub opened, this theme was extended to pictures of Che Guevara, Cuba flags and murals of Castro adorning the walls.I remember a friend telling me that an American friend of theirs would not go to the club as of the name. I think people take things too seriously.