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Western Union to shut Cuba offices November 23

·1-min read
Cubans queue outside a Western Union office in Havana on October 28, 2020
Cubans queue outside a Western Union office in Havana on October 28, 2020

Western Union will close its Cuba operation on November 23, following new US sanctions that prevent it from working with Havana's military financial firm, Fincimex, the Cuban company announced Friday.

"Fincimex and Western Union have decided to suspend from 23 November the transfer of money from abroad," as well as the US money transfer company's 407 agencies in Cuba, Fincimex said on its Facebook page.

It follows new US sanctions targeting the involvement of the Cuban military in remittances -- money sent from abroad to relatives back home, a valuable daily support for many Cubans.

"The U.S. removed Cuba's military from the remittance process to protect the human rights of the Cuban people and to ensure Cuban families, not the military, receive the maximum benefit from remittances," US diplomat Michael Kozak, acting assistant secretary for western hemisphere affairs, said on Twitter.

The Cuban government "knows what it needs to do to allow $ transfer to happen: Simply ensure money stays in the pockets of Cuban families, not the Cuban military," he added.

Fincimex said the interruption to money transfers "is the unique and exclusive responsibility of the US government."

The company has been Western Union's local partner for more than 20 years.

It accused the US government of policies "aimed at suffocating the Cuban economy in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic."

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