Another move by US president Donald Trump’s administration, meant to harm the Cuban people, came into effect a few days ago, when a company dealing with sending remittances to the island was sanctioned.
The State Department announced a week ago that American International Services (AIS) was added to the criticised list of Cuban entities and companies North Americans were banned to use for transaction services.
This was implemented the following day. The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, used the pretext that AIS was allegedly under the control of the island’s Revolutionary Armed Forces.
As a justification, in his statement, Pompeo made reference again to Cuba’s support for Venezuela’s constitutional government. A number of sources inside and outside the United States have described Pompeo’s reiteration that Trump is backing the Cuban people as hypocritical and false, and have pointed out that the continued sanctions are meant to cause suffering to the residents of the island.
“We urge everyone who is sending remittances to their families in Cuba not to use entities controlled by the Cuban government”, the statement mentioned, without making reference to the many limitations imposed by Washington on sending money to the Caribbean country.
This is not the first time Trump has made it difficult for people who live in the United States to send remittances to their families in the Greater Antilles.
In September 2019, for example, his office made the decision to impose a limit of one thousand dollars per quarter on the amount of money one person can send from the US to Cuba.
Faced with this measure, the Engage Cuba coalition stated at the time that this was another difficult piece of news for Cubans and considered that limiting the help Cuban families were receiving from their relatives in the United States was “unnecessarily cruel and helps no one”. The Washington Office on Latin America then noted that remittances played a very important role in helping Cuban families, and said that the restrictions imposed would not achieve the goals set by the US Government to change the politics and economy in the Greater Antilles.
Last June, the Trump administration added Fincimex to the list of restricted entities. Fincimex, among its services, manages family remittances sent to the island from abroad, and it is linked to AIS.
Similarly, this measure follows the implementation of other punishments against Cuba, which were denounced as being politically motivated and harming the people.
On September 23, Trump himself announced the decision to ban US travellers from staying at properties owned by the Cuban government, prevent imports of Cuban alcohol and tobacco, and ask for special permits for certain travel categories.
For José Oro, a Cuban living in the United States, the recent sanctions come from the disadvantage the US president has in the polls against Joe Biden, his Democrat rival. “These restrictions will be short-lived if Trump loses the elections”, he added. “They are as cruel as they are foolish”. (PL)