14ymedio, Havana, June 10, 2021 — Starting June 21, Cuba will temporarily suspend cash deposits of U.S. dollars according to a memo from the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC), which made the announcement on the television news/interview program Roundtable.
The statement indicated the measure is the result of “obstacles” created by the U.S. embargo, noting that it will allow the country’s banking system to deposit hard currency it collects on the island in entities overseas.
“The measure will not affect previous transfers or cash deposits in other freely convertible currencies accepted by Cuba, which will still be permitted without restrictions,” the memo states.
It adds that this measure is intended to protect the Cuban banking and financial system and only applies to U.S. currency in cash, not to dollar denominated bank accounts or existing accounts in this currency, “which will not be affected in any way.”
The BCC claims that, for more than a year, it has been restricted from depositing U.S. dollars collected within Cuba’s borders in international banks.
The bank also claims that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Cuba to find international institutions willing “to receive, convert, or process cash” in the form of dollars because of “the extra-territorial effects of the blockade and additional measures adopted by the United States.”
“This is not about penalizing people for having dollars. What we are saying is that we have a problem with banks overseas,” BCC president Marta Sabina Wilson González said on Cuban TV’s Roundtable program, adding that Cubans had until June 20 to deposit foreign cash in their bank accounts
Carlos Fernández de Cossío, director general of U.S. affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, added that the reason for this decision is “the blockade,” whose aim, he noted, is to “depress foreign earnings and people’s standard of living.” U.S. measures towards Cuba, he observed, were intensified four years ago during the Donald Trump administration and have so far remained unchanged under Joe Biden.
The official statement concludes by noting that how long this measure remains in effect “will depend on the lifting of restrictions that impede normal procedures for exporting American currency.”
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