Cuba without options to receive remittances after the closure of Wester Union

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The financial corporation Fincimex, linked to the Cuban Armed Forces, ruled out the possibility of enabling alternative channels for the sending remittances that arrive on the island channeled through the American company Western Union, after the ban announced by the United States government.

“By different routes from United States an attempt is made to establish a matrix of consistent opinion, in which remittances would not be interrupted if Cuba accepted the imposition of the North American government to establish a payment network in Cuba different from the current network, “denounced a note released by Fincimex.

Route of remittances

He also affirmed that for more than 20 years the island’s finance company has invested in equipment, premises, preparation and training of personnel, as well as in communications infrastructure to achieve a payment network capable of sustaining the high operational level of the companies. international remittance companies.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury, announced on October 24 the prohibition of sending remittances to Cuba through companies controlled by the Cuban Armed Forces, a measure that will take effect on November 26.

Foreign companies that want to operate in Cuba, they must have a state counterpart and in the case of the North American Western Union, that partner is since 2016 the financial services firm Fincimex, linked to the military conglomerate GAESA, this being the main legal channel for sending foreign currency to the island.

US sanctions

The Department of State included Fincimex in June, and in September its subsidiary American International Services (AIS), in the “blacklist” of companies with which Americans are prohibited from carrying out transactions, and the new regulations prevent the processing of remittances with any entity included in that list.

Last Tuesday the Cuban financial services firm confirmed the forthcoming closure of the 407 Western Union payment branches installed in all the island’s municipalities and the total interruption of the flow of remittances, due to the sanctions established by the administration of Donald Trump.

The offices of the red de Western Union, they use internet access to connect with the platform of that company and work based on levels of technological integration and strong logistics processes at the national level, according to the state financial company of the Caribbean country.

“It is widely known that 70% of the network of payment points is made up of companies included in the list of restricted entities, so even without the management of Fincimex as a Western Union representative in Cuba, they would be forced to close, “he adds.

Complicated relationships

Fincimex indicated that it would not be possible to organize alternative solutions in 30 days, the deadline set by Washington for the entry into force of the regulations.

Throughout these four years and especially in the last two, the Trump administration has reversed the “thaw” promoted by his predecessor Barack Obama and increased sanctions with the aim of damaging the already deteriorated island economy, as well as strategic sectors for state coffers such as tourism, remittances or medical missions.

The cruise ban and the veto on flights from the US to all Cuban airports except Havana have been some of the toughest measures taken by Washington.

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