Western Union Halts US-Cuba Transfers

The U.S. company Western Union Monday halted the transfer of remittances to Cuba, following new sanctions by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (USDOT).

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Representing the closure of  407 offices on the island, the Cuban financial company Fincimex agreed with Western Union to suspend the operation.

The decision comes after, the USDOT released in October the draft of a final rule to eliminate the scope of certain general authorizations related to bank transfers from abroad.

Among the new provision, money transfers to Cuba through Fincimex and the related firm American International Services were prohibited on allegations that  Fincimex is a ‘company controlled by the Cuban military’.

In June of this year, Fincimex was added to the U.S. State Department (USDOS) list of restricted entities. The list includes the Interior and Armed Forces ministries, the National Revolutionary Police, the Mariel Special Development Zone, and the Mariel and Havana container terminals, among other companies and corporations.

An investigation by the Center for U.S. and Hemispheric Studies at the University of Havana confirms that between 2001 and 2020, U.S. sanctions on Cuba suggest as a possible pattern that it is in an election or pre-election periods when hostile actions are most intensified. The 2019 pre-election year recorded the highest number of new legal norms in the period analyzed with sanctions approved every month, except in January, and on several occasions, more than one sanction imposed per month.

Meanwhile, Mexico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti, and Brazil are the first 10 countries that have the highest flow of remittances in the Latin American and Caribbean region, according to data by the World Bank (WB).

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