US Limits Remittances, But Not for Cuban NGOs or the Private Sector

The recipient of remittances cannot be an official of the Cuban Government. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, September 6, 2019 — Cuban-Americans can only send $1,000 every three months to their family members in Cuba according to the new rules announced this Friday by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury of the United States. However, the restrictions will not be applied to NGOs nor to the Island’s private sector.

The amendments, which are added to the regulations on Cuban assets implemented in recent months by Donald Trump’s administration, had been announced in April and will go into effect on October 9.

The new measures also eliminate donations, which would permit American citizens to send money to friends living on the Island.

The recipient of the remittances cannot be an official of the Cuban Government, a member of the Communist Party, or a close family member of one of these, explains the statement, although OFAC doesn’t explain what mechanisms it will employ to verify the political or military links of each recipient.

On the other hand, the private sector and NGOs on the Island will not be subjected to those limitations.

The OFAC document stresses Washington’s political will to favor the growth of a private sector independent from the Cuban Government. For that reason there will not be restrictions on sending remittances to self-employed people and certain NGOs, like Churches.

The small Cuban private sector is made up of a little more than half a million people and is developing especially in the sectors of restaurants (“paladares”), tourist lodging, and transportation.

“We are taking additional measures to financially isolate the Cuban regime. The United States holds it responsible for the oppression of the Cuban people and the support of other dictatorships throughout the region, like the illegitimate regime of Maduro,” warned the secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin.

“Through these amendments, the Treasury is denying Cuba access to strong currency, and we are checking the bad behavior of the Cuban Government as we continue supporting the people of Cuba who are suffering so much,” says the official notice.

“These actions mark a continuous commitment to implement the president’s policy on Cuba,” adds the statement. Previously, in June of 2019, OFAC suspended permission for cruise ships and further restricted non-family trips to Cuba by prohibiting educational and so-called people-to-people trips.

Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera


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