Spanish Consulate in Havana Will Charge for its Services in Euros and Cash

Several people carry out procedures at the Consulate of Spain, in Havana (Cuba), in a file photograph. (EFE/Ernesto Mastrascusa)

14ymedio biggerEFE (14ymedio), Havana, 17 June 2022 — The Spanish Consulate in Havana reported this Friday that as of July 1 it will begin charging its consular services in euros, only in cash and with the exact amount.

The legation detailed in its Twitter account the price of services such as the preparation of passports (30 euros), visas (80) or legalizations (10), among others.

The Spanish diplomatic representation did not explain the reason for the decision, which happened a week after several Latin American embassies in Cuba announced the suspension of their consular services following a directive from the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC).

Instruction 1/2022 of the BCC establishes that countries can charge for their consular services “in foreign currency or in Cuban pesos,” according to what they themselves establish.

But this measure does not allow them to exchange the income from consular procedures invoiced in Cuban pesos, which cannot be converted in other countries, into international currencies.

The embassies and consulates that determine to charge consular services in pesos will only be able to “deposit the funds in an account in that currency,” the instruction warned, putting an end to a practice common until now.

The BCC also indicated that “from the accounts in Cuban pesos of the embassies and consulates” it will not be possible to make “transfers to accounts in freely convertible currency, nor payments abroad.”

The freely convertible currency (MLC) is a virtual currency valid only in Cuba and referenced to currencies. It has been used in the country since the end of 2019 and is valid in a network of food and appliance stores.

The BCC’s decision was received critically by some embassies because it prevents them from transferring to their countries, in foreign currency, the money they received in Cuban pesos in paymen for the consular services they provide.

The measure is related, according to various sources, to the difference between the official rate – from one dollar to 24 pesos – and the exchange rate in the informal market, where the US bill currently costs around 100 pesos. Meanwhile, the euro is officially exchanged at 27 pesos and in the informal market it fetches 115 pesos.

The exchange of national to foreign currency at the official rate and the exporting of these currencies from the country was disadvantageous for Cuba, these sources added.


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