Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pigeon Smuggling as Art and U.S.-Cuba Relations

It's not every day you come across a news article that affords you an opportunity to blog about an art exhibit featuring pigeons smuggling Cuban cigars, how to research trade relations between the United States and Cuba and to comment on the end of the government shutdown in one fell swoop.  TGIT, indeed.

Brooklyn artist Duke Riley's exhibition "Trading With the Enemy" showcases his years-long project to train homing pigeons to fly from Havana to Key West, Florida.  Apparently, as Mr. Riley explains it, some of the pigeons smuggled Cuban cigars to the United States while the others were outfitted with special cameras to document the experience, all of which were fastened by "bright bra straps with adorably embroidered smuggling pockets..."

Is this legal?  Does the United States' trade embargo with Cuba have anything to do with this pigeon art?  These are excellent questions.  There are are number of resources in the law library and beyond that can help you research these issues. 

You might start by researching the state of trade relations between the United States and Cuba on the United States Treasury Department's website and reading President Obama's continuation of the Trading With the Enemy Act relating to Cuba.  And, you won't even have to use the Wayback Machine because the government shutdown has (finally) ended

Law students and faculty at the UW School of Law also have access to BNA materials, including the International Trade Reporter via the law library's website under "Selected Databases."  Try running a search for Cuba and see what you can learn.  You can click right in to BNA, but be sure to log in via the off-campus access link on the top right corner of the page if you are not on campus when you are doing this fascinating research.  And don't forget about the Foreign Law Guide, also accessible from "Selected Databases" on the library's website for information about the Cuban legal system generally and trade with the United States.

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