U.S. Unveils Regulatory Adjustments to Bolster Financial Support for Cuba’s Private Sector

By LG Staff

By LG Staff

May 29, 2024

The U.S. Treasury Department unveiled regulatory adjustments on Tuesday to facilitate increased American financial backing for Cuba’s emerging private sector and enhance the accessibility of U.S.-based internet services. These measures, albeit limited, are deemed timely and are expected to provide a boost to the fledgling small businesses on the island.

In a significant move, the United States will now allow small-scale entrepreneurs in the Communist-governed nation to establish and manage U.S. bank accounts directly from Cuba for the first time in decades. Such permissions had been restricted following the revolutionary changes initiated shortly after Fidel Castro assumed power in 1959.

Additionally, these regulatory amendments will enable Cuban entrepreneurs to utilize various U.S.-based social media platforms, online payment gateways, video conferencing tools, and authentication services. Previously, these resources were unavailable to the sector, constituting a significant obstacle for small businesses on the island.

The primary objective of these adjustments is to fulfill the long-postponed commitment of the Biden administration to support Cuba’s burgeoning entrepreneurs, demonstrating recognition of its small yet rapidly expanding private sector. This comes despite the enduring U.S. embargo, a relic of the Cold War era, which has historically complicated financial transactions involving the Cuban government.

“We’re taking a significant stride today in backing the growth of free enterprise and the entrepreneurial business landscape in Cuba,” stated a senior U.S. official while briefing reporters on Tuesday.

The Cuban government has yet to issue an official response to the policy changes.

In formulating these measures, U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, indicated a deliberate effort to strike a balance between bolstering the private sector and averting any inadvertent benefits to Cuban authorities.

President Joe Biden assumed office in January 2021 amidst high hopes in Cuba for a reversal of the stringent approach adopted during the Trump administration. However, Cuba’s crackdown on protests during the summer of that year prompted the Biden administration to maintain pressure on Havana.

It is noteworthy that these new measures will explicitly exclude Cuban officials, military personnel, and other government affiliates, with the intention of minimizing any resources that may indirectly benefit the Cuban government, as emphasized by the officials.

Republican U.S. Representative Maria Elvira Salazar, a Cuban American lawmaker from South Florida, swiftly criticized the announcement made by the Democratic administration. “The Biden Admin is now granting the ‘Cuban private sector’ access to the U.S. financial system,” she remarked in a post on X. “This would make a mockery of American law, considering no progress has been made toward freedom on the Island and repression has intensified.”

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