The Cuban Government Closes 45 Businesses for Not Implementing Electronic Payment and Targets Another 893

In Cienfuegos, three state ration stores were closed, as was a point of sale (POS) of the financial company Cimex, several sites of the Ministry of Agriculture and one Construction business. /14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 15 March 2024 — This Thursday, the Communist Party newspaper published a list of 45 businesses (60% of them from the private sector) whose closure was decreed by the Government for not including the electronic method among its means of payment. The measure, announced in large headlines by the official press, sends a clear message to those who violate the “right” to electronic commerce, the golden rule – Granma says – of the bancarización [banking reform] process* decreed in August 2023.

The 3,341 “control actions” that the inspectors launched in February, says Granma, in the tone of the police, revealed that 893 entities – in particular self-employed workers and points of sale administered by the Ministry of Agriculture – “do not comply” with the provisions of Resolution 93/2023 of the Internal Trade portfolio, the road map of bancarización.

After the raid, 89 fines were applied and 75 commercial authorizations were withdrawn, the newspaper reported. Mirurgia Ramírez, director of marketing of the ministry, reported that the inspectors are directing their “priority” attention to businesses that presented deficiencies in previous inspections, in particular those that took place before bancarización was approved.

This February, the official explained, the ministry found that not all the provinces had been inspected with the same rigor. In Havana, Artemisa and Matanzas, “more control actions” have been carried out, while Cienfuegos and Holguín were left behind. It is striking that, despite this, no business in the capital was closed.

This February, the official explained, the ministry found that not all provinces had been inspected with the same rigor

The conclusion is that “the measures adopted are insufficient,” and there are “delays in the contracting and activation of Transfermóvil QR Codes,” which makes electronic payment impossible. After commenting on the situation, Granma published the list of “closed” businesses. In Matanzas, three gastronomy units were suspended. In Cienfuegos, three state ration stores, a point of sale of the financial company Cimex, several points of sale of the Ministry of Agriculture and one of Construction were shut down.

In Ciego de Ávila, the private sector was the most affected, a constant that was repeated in the eastern provinces: four self-employed workers, two private companies – an organoponic and a cooperative – and a beauty institute closed their doors. The inspectors of Holguín and Granma also shut down several state points of sale.

Santiago de Cuba was left without two cafes and a restaurant, and Guantánamo saw the closure of the La Tijera store, managed by the Gaesa military conglomerate. Isla de la Juventud will stop the work of five self-employed workers and a private business, in addition to a multi-service workshop in Nueva Gerona.

“Are you complying with the provision?” Granma asks, with the intention of being rhetorical, and the numbers respond. However, the newspaper does not dedicate a single line to describing the scourges of any electronic process in Cuba: the terrible internet connection, which becomes non-existent in remote parts of the Island, the constant blackouts that affect connectivity and the lack of payment terminals or other devices.

Voluntarism** and legal warnings set the tone of the Communist Party’s newspaper, for which, if bancarización faces multiple obstacles and deficiencies, the answers must be sought in the negligence of the businesses and not in the structural crisis of the country. To denounce offenders, Granma reminds readers, the lines are open.

Translator’s notes:
*Bancarización is a term used in Cuba and other Latin American countries. All economic transactions must be made by debit card, including cash withdrawals and the payment of salaries. The term does not have a counterpart in English so the Spanish term is used throughout this translation.
** This means that it is up to the individual business to fix the problem itself. 

Translated by Regina Anavy 


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