FILE – People wait to be attended at a Western Union office on its last day of operations in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, File)
MIAMI (AP) — Western Union announced Wednesday that it has resumed limited remittances between the United States and Cuba, two years after the service was suspended.
The company ceased money transfers in 2020 after then-President Donald Trump tightened US restrictions on Cuba. The Joe Biden administration has relaxed some of those restrictions, such as remittance payments, but many are still in place.
“The close relationship between our American customers and their family members living in Cuba, along with the role our services play in helping create better lives, are inextricably linked,” said Gabriella Fitzgerald, president, Western Union North America. “We are delighted to once again offer this important connection to our customers,” she added.
The test phase was deployed in some of the company’s Miami establishments, and transfers can be sent to three banks operated by the government in Cuba: Banco Popular de Ahorro, Banco Metropolitano SA and Banco de Credito y Comercio.
Western Union said that payments cannot be sent over the Internet, an alternative that is widely used, and that money can only be transferred in dollars. Payments are also limited to $2,000 a day, and the money must be collected by presenting Cuban identification, Fitzgerald said in a news release.
The resumption of remittance payments could offer Cuban families key financial support as an economic crisis grips the Caribbean nation, one of several factors fueling a migration exodus.
A record number of Cubans have arrived at the southern border of the United States during the Biden government, which has generated political pressure on him and has also given rise to new dialogues with the Cuban government.
The suspension of remittance payments had added significant obstacles to the island’s economic recovery efforts after the pandemic.
Cubans living abroad often have to resort to creative techniques to send money to relatives on the island, such as sending money through bitcoin trading apps or carrying large amounts of cash on flights home. .
Leave a Reply