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  • Awaiting remittances from family abroad, two men wait outside of a Western Union office in Havana, Cuba. September 28, 2020.

    Awaiting remittances from family abroad, two men wait outside of a Western Union office in Havana, Cuba. September 28, 2020. | Photo: EFE/Yander Zamora

Published 28 September 2020
Opinion

The United States announced Monday a new measure to tighten the economic, commercial, and financial blockade against Cuba by sanctioning a company involved in sending remittances in foreign currency to the Caribbean island.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Monday that the sanction against the Cuban remittance company American International Services (AIS) will be effective as of Tuesday, September 29.

The action adds to Washington's unilateral siege against the Antillean nation, rejected by the international community.

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Pompeo justified the inclusion of AIS in the List of Restricted Cuban Entities under the pretext that it is a company under the alleged control of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR).

According to Pompeo, U.S. citizens and companies, including Cuban-Americans sending money to their families to buy groceries at recently-opened dollar stores, are prohibited from conducting financial transactions with these companies.

The company to which AIS belongs, Fincimex, was included in the list of restricted entities in June. Because of that, the French bank Credit Mutuel stopped its services to that entity, affecting the sending of remittances in dollars.

On September 24, the U.S. Treasury Department put into effect other measures aimed at tightening the unilateral sanctions, issuing regulations prohibiting rum and tobacco imports, as well as the accommodation of U.S. citizens in hotels or properties controlled by the Cuban government, state officials, or the Communist Party and their close relatives.

The announcement of the measures came shortly after President Donald Trump welcomed the support for the November 3 elections of the leaders of the mercenary brigade that suffered a crushing defeat at Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) in April 1961.

The Treasury Department also eliminated the general authorization for U.S. citizens or businesses' participation or organization of conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and sports events in Cuba.

The most recent bans reported by Pompeo and those implemented on September 24, come into effect a few weeks before the November 3 general elections. Experts on the subject interpret them as part of Trump's campaign strategy, at a time when Florida, where a good portion of the Cuban-American far-right figures resides, is one of the key battleground states for such elections.

 

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