Permanent Mission to UN

Press Release. Fining entities commercializing with Cuba as part of the blockade policy

New York, 26 August.- The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States against Cuba continues to be fully effective, despite the continuous calls from the international community for its end. The main objective of this illegal policy is still causing harm and suffering to the Cuban people.

Irish citizens cannot transfer money to people who live in Cuba, as a result of restrictions caused by the blockade policy imposed by the United States against the Caribbean country, which has been in force for more than 50 years, The Irish Times reported on August 24.

Although neither Ireland nor the European Union has any restrictions on trade with Cuba, and despite the UN General Assembly’s numerous resolutions condemning the embargo, Bank of Ireland has started to block all financial transfers in recent weeks because of business relationship with a U.S. bank.

Under the U.S. commercial embargo, which has been in place since Fidel Castro overthrew a pro-US regime in the early 1960s, U.S. banks are forbidden from processing payments to Cuba or even facilitating the making or receiving of such payments.

While such transfers are common in other jurisdictions – and are still permitted by other Irish banks – Bank of Ireland has changed its rules on such transfers since its integration to the Single European Payment Area (SEPA) and is now refusing to process them.

In a statement the bank confirmed that it would no longer enable the transfers, and added that it depended on foreign banks to process domestic, European and international transactions under the SEPA umbrella.

“The bank processing all SEPA transactions is a leading US bank who must comply with its own regulatory requirements and obligations and to avoid a possible exposure to regulatory sanctions and penalties,” a spokeswoman said.

Because of this the bank says it is “not in a position to process such transactions.”

The national coordinator of the Cuba Support Group, Simon McGuinness said: “On one hand we have the European Union voting as a single block against the blockade an on the other they introduced financial regulations that facilitate it.”

(From The Irish Times)

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