Western Union Expands its Offices to Send Remittances from Florida to Cuba to More Than 340 Sites

Western Union office in Cuba. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger 14ymedio, Havana, 27 January 2023 — The financial company Western Union decided to expand its service for sending remittances to Cuba to 343 offices in Florida through the pilot program that it has been implementing since the beginning of this month and which had started in a few branches.

Among the establishments that were incorporated into sending remittances are supermarkets, pharmacies, small markets, cafeterias, telephone stores and travel agencies, in a geographical area that goes from Daytona Beach to Key West and encompasses 65 municipalities in Florida.

The expansion of the service was activated last week, a Western Union spokesperson told CiberCuba, and also specified that his company is also considering resuming money transfers from other countries to the island in “the near future.”

Western Union also reported that they are working with the Government of Cuba to expand “the number of financial institutions” that will engage in the delivery of money to the recipients on the Island, although for the moment the shipment of up to 2,000 dollars is maintained in a single transaction, and applied to debit cards or accounts at Banco Popular de Ahorro, Banco Metropolitano and Banco de Crédito y Comercio (Bandec).

At the beginning of this year, when the resumption of operations to the Island was announced, the president of Western Union’s North America division, Gabriella Fitzgerald, announced “with great pleasure” that they were working on “a phase of an initial test.”

“The close connection between our US clients and their families living in Cuba, along with the role our services play in helping create better lives, are inextricably linked,” Fitzgerald said.

It then became known that the funds sent to Cuba may be available the same day if they are issued before noon and will be deposited in freely convertible currency (MLC).

Western Union suspended remittances to Cuba – the country’s second source of income, behind the sale of medical services and ahead of tourism – in November 2020, after the government of then-President Donald Trump sanctioned Fincimex and AIS, two remittance processing entities, for their ties to Gaesa, the conglomerate of companies run by the Cuban military.

A month earlier, the United States Government had formally prohibited remittances to Cuba sent through companies controlled by the Armed Forces. According to the available data, 51.3% of the companies that offered financial services in Cuba at the time had contracts with Fincimex.

The US-Cuba Economic and Trade Council, led by John Kavulich, told EFE that, instead of Fincimex, Western Union now operates with Orbit, a state company that sends funds to Banco Popular de Ahorro, Banco Metropolitano and the Banco de Crédito y Comercio, also controlled by the State.


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