Cuba willing to drop 10 percent penalty on U.S. dollar exchanges
Post on March 21, 2016, 1:34 pm by the-victoria-law-group 0 Comments
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said Thursday that Cuba had decided to do away with a 10 percent penalty Cuba charges on exchanges of U.S. dollars but only if new U.S. banking measures allow improved Cuban access to the international banking system.
The new rules make it clear U.S. financial institutions will be able to process cash, travelers checks and other U.S. dollar-denominated monetary instruments indirectly presented by Cuban financial institutions and that correspondent accounts at third-country financial institutions used for such Cuban transactions may be denominated in U.S. dollars
Rodríguez said in the next few days Cuba would try to make dollar transfers through third-party banking institutions and if they prove successful and don’t result in sanctions against the banks, Cuba would eliminate the 10 percent surcharge.
Cuba imposed the penalty, the foreign minister said, to compensate Cuban financial institutions for the risks and costs associated with the use of greenbacks. Before the new rules, it was illegal to use U.S. dollars in third-party transactions with Cuba and billions of dollars in fines have been levied against banks over the years.
Only days before President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Cuba, Rodríguez still found plenty to criticize about the set of regulations that the United States announced Tuesday — although in general he said they were “positive measures and a step in the correct direction.”
Previous regulations announced by the United States since the Dec. 17, 2014, rapprochement between the two countries, he said, had little impact on lessening the effects of the embargo.
But he said it appeared some of the banking changes were “significant,” as well as a measure allowing Americans to make individual people-to-people trips to the island rather than just traveling in organized groups.
He pointed out, however, that Americans still can’t travel freely to Cuba — and they still have to keep records of their expenses and activities on their people-to-people trips. “Why keep this absurd prohibition? What about the civil rights of American citizens?” he asked.
A new rule that allows American ships to call on Cuba, drop off cargo and then continue or their routes with cargo for other destinations, he said, is a “measure that doesn’t benefit Cuba but U.S. vessels.”