Financial persecution, a distinctive feature of the US blockade against Cuba in recent years

Financial persecution, a distinctive feature of the US blockade against Cuba in recent years

Between April 2017 and March 2018, Cuban financial institutions continued to be subject to a policy of hostility and persecution by the United States government. The monetary-financial effects as a result of the blockade amounted to 538,300,000 dollars, to which were added, damages to the Cuban banking system from incidents reported in 128 foreign banks, between April 2017 and March 2018.

The regulations and provisions of the Departments of Treasury, Commerce and State, approved on November 8, 2017, that prohibit direct financial transactions of persons or companies subject to US jurisdiction with 179 Cuban entities and their branches, resulted in the cancellation of the bank transfers issued by  the Cuban companies included in the list of sanctioned entities. This indirectly affects the operations of Cuban banking institutions, which are forced to modify the usual banking channels (notably restricted) to make their collections and payments, which causes difficulties and additional costs in commercial operations.

The island is still unable to use the US dollar in Cuban commercial and financial transactions abroad, as well as to have access to sources of financing from US banks and commercial entities, whose use is common practice in world trade.

Difficulties related to the access to new technologies of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) are maintained, due to the fact that most of the companies that provide the software and technologies are American. For example, SWIFT messaging RMA code numbers were canceled by 20 foreign banks, including 17 European, 2 Latin American and 1 African banks; while 4 foreign banking entities, of them: 3 European and 1 Latin American, requested the closure of Cuban accounts.

Likewise, there have been multiple examples of closure and refusal of openings of accounts to Cuban embassies and diplomatic officials abroad, as well as representations of Cuban entities, under the consideration that Cuba is a sanctioned country and subject to regulations of the blockade, which contravenes International and Diplomatic Law. Cuban funds have been withheld, hindering access to national financial resources at proper times; there have been refusals to process and / or report issues related to letters of credit to Cuba from 34 foreign banks, of which 24 are Asian, 9 European and 1 Latin American; and bank operations have been rejected by 55 foreign entities, including 26 in Europe, 15 in Asia and 11 in Latin America, 2 in North America and 1 in Oceania.

Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations