According to CBC News, the Fichts, who came here to learn about urban agriculture, had no idea that they were doing a transaction with a US company.
"I'm one Canadian, dealing with another Canadian, through what I believe is a Canadian organization – PayPal.ca," he said as he reffered to the domain of the site he consulted which is PayPal.ca. He added that " in fact it's falling under the shadow of U.S. foreign policy."
CBC said that Ficht and the tour operator he was trying to pay have both cancelled their PayPal accounts because of the experience, which Ficht describes as "economic imperialism."
Paypal Canada sent an e-mail reply saying that the restriction on the account was due to an activity that may be violating US regulations established by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of State.
Jan Ficht said she was surprised her interest in organic and sustainable vegetable growing would be red-flagged by the American government. Canada has always maintained trade relations with Cuba.
"It certainly made me feel like a bumpkin all of a sudden," she said.
"As a U.S. company, PayPal and all its foreign subsidiaries have to comply with the Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions regulations. With respect to Cuba, payments involving non-U.S. customers have to be declined as per OFAC regulations."
Last December 17, Washington and Cuba announced their intention to advance towards the normalization of bilateral relations, but Wahington maintains its unilateral and extraterritorial blockade of Cuba, which is the main obstacle for the normalization of such links.