Yesterday, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action to remove Cuba’s military from the process of sending remittances to Cuba. Once these changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) are effective, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will no longer be authorized to process remittances to or from Cuba involving any entity or sub-entity on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. These changes provide for a 30-day period before they are effective in order to allow for technical implementation. U.S. remittances to Cuba can still flow, but they will not flow through the hands of the Cuban military, which uses those funds to oppress the Cuban people and to fund Cuba’s interference in Venezuela.
The United States supports the principle that Cubans should be able to prosper and support their families without the Cuban military utilizing their hard currency earnings as it wishes. The Cuban government and military have created a system that seizes hard currency through military-operated financial mechanisms, such as FINCIMEX and AIS, and takes a cut from the remittances ordinary Cubans receive from abroad, including from the United States. Cuba is the only country in the hemisphere where the military takes a cut of remittances. Furthermore, the Cuban regime forces ordinary Cubans to use the remittances they have remaining to buy goods at marked-up prices from government-controlled stores.
Yesterday’s action demonstrates the United States’ long-standing commitment to ending economic practices that disproportionately benefit the Cuban government or its military, intelligence, and security agencies or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people.
The military of General Raul Castro will not profit from the well-intentioned, generous funds families send to the Cuban people.
The United States will continue to stand up for the Cuban people, who desire a democratic government and who deserve to have their human rights respected. As long as General Castro’s military apparatus denies freedom of religion, expression, association and so much more to the Cuban people, we will deny the regime its misappropriated resources. The Cuban people deserve the maximum benefit from their families.