Article content continued
But the toughest blow was adding the Cuban army-owned financial institution Fincimex to the State Department’s “Cuban restricted list.” Fincimex and its subsidiary, American International Services (AIS), essentially have a monopoly on handling remittances, with the fees thus becoming available for the Communist party’s chosen social purposes.
Those purposes, as U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced in late September, undoubtedly include “meddling in Venezuela,” as well as investing in the army-controlled hotels, pubs and tourist traps in which Canadians so love to deposit their own slightly softer dollars. (State has also personally sanctioned the head of the Cuban military’s ubiquitous holding company for dollar-generating assets, the Castro extended-family member Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja.)
“Adding AIS to the Cuba Restricted List furthers the administration’s goal of preventing the Cuban military from controlling and benefiting from the flow of remittances that should instead benefit the Cuban people,” Pompeo’s statement observed. “The people should be able to receive funds from their family abroad without having to line the pockets of their oppressors. We urge anyone who sends remittances to family in Cuba to use means other than Cuban government-controlled remittance entities.”
Being tough on Cuba is popular in Florida, but that’s also where most Cuban remittances come from; most of the people sending them will not have other options (bitcoin aside!) until Fincimex establishes new offshore ones. The State Department’s embargo measures left the Cuban government with the option of finding a new civilian partner for Western Union in Cuba — which could even have been a state enterprise — but Cuba, in the classic communist manner, chose not to be pushed around. ¡Venceremos!