Western Union informs that it will not resume service in Cuba this April 1

HAVANA.- Western Union continues to present technical problems for sending remittances to Cuba, so until now there is no estimated date for the restoration of the service, the company confirmed.

“Western Union hoped that everything would be resolved by the month of April but unfortunately there is no new information in the system regarding the problem we were experiencing. For now, shipments remain suspended,†said a company official.

The problem, according to Western Union communications director, Brad Jones, is linked to the Orbit platform, which operates from Cuba and is an intermediary with the island's banks.

“The date (to resume operations) has been extended since Cuba has not collaborated,” said the Western Union employee.

At the beginning of March, the company had reported that the date on which they would resume service in Cuba would be April 1. “The department has already given a resolution date and by April 1, shipping services to Cuba will be enabled again,†said a company employee, reported martinoticias.com.

The sending of remittances was suspended on January 26 due to problems with the island's banking entities. “We were experiencing problems with partners in Cuba. It was not a specific bank, it was all of them,†he indicated. But the problems that Western Union has in Cuba are also related to the company Orbit SA.

Orbit received a license from the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) in 2022 to operate as a non-bank financial institution, with the capacity to manage transfers from abroad, replacing Fincimex, which was sanctioned in 2020 by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury (OFAC) because it is a dependency of the Cuban military conglomerate Gaesa.

Until now, there has been no official information from the Cuban authorities about the problem presented by Western Union. Last week, Fincimex reported the reactivation of AIS (American International Service) dollar cards, which can receive deposits from abroad.

“From this moment on, the service of sending money to AIS USD cards is restored… This type of card maintains its usual benefits, to which is now added the possibility of being used to purchase fuel in USD,” he indicated. a note.

For economist Miguel Alejandro Hayes, this could indicate “a preference in receiving money through their own circuits.”

“Sending remittances to Cuba through Western Union implies that a part of the business profit ends up in the hands of the company. On the other hand, sending remittances through AIS and Clí cards Simply put, it implies less losses for the foreign currency captured by the government,” he said.

One of the objectives of the package announced by the regime to “correct the distortions of the Cuban economy” is the “recovery of the flow of remittances.” In fact, the newly appointed vice minister of the Ministry of Economy and Planning, Mildrey Granadillo de la Torre announced that this month they would begin to implement measures in that regard.