• June 15, 2024

Biden Rolls Back Bank Restrictions for Cuba

 Biden Rolls Back Bank Restrictions for Cuba
TR Archive

Accessing the global banking system just got easier for many of Cuba’s privately owned tobacco farms. The U.S. lifted some financial restrictions against the island country on Tuesday, in a move designed to boost private businesses.

The measures will allow independent entrepreneurs to open and access U.S. bank accounts online to support their businesses. They also include steps to open up more internet-based services and expand private companies’ ability to make certain financial transactions.

“These regulatory amendments update and clarify authorizations in support of internet-based services to promote internet freedom in Cuba, support independent Cuban private sector entrepreneurs, and expand access to certain financial services for the Cuban people,” the Treasury Department said in a news release.

One of the key changes will allow Cuban private business owners to open bank accounts in the United States and then access them online once back in Cuba — something they couldn’t do previously. The U.S. also is again allowing something called U-turn transactions, where money is transferred from one country to another but is routed through the United States.

“This reinstated authorization is intended to help the Cuban people, including independent private sector entrepreneurs, by facilitating remittances and payments for transactions in the Cuban private sector,” the release said, according to the Associated Press.

The Trump administration had removed permission for the U-turn transactions in 2019.

The Cuban authorities downplayed the announcement. Johana Tablada, deputy director of the U.S. department in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, said the steps were “limited” and will do little to ease the embargo or sanctions that have most hurt the Cuban people.