After three years, American company Western Union announced the resumption of services to Cuba from Miami on Wednesday, 01.11.2023. The president for North America, Gabriella Fitzgerald said in a statement, “It is a great pleasure to announce the resumption of our operations in Cuba with an initial test phase of the shipping service from the United States to customers with Cuban bank accounts through certain US agents.”
In 2020, US government sanctioned Cuban financial company Fincimex, associated with Western Union, to prevent military from benefiting from sending remittances and Western Union had to close its 407 offices in the island nation. In the beginning of 2022, Cuban government created another company, Orbit SA, to manage transfers from abroad.
Now, customers from certain Miami locations can send a maximum of $2,000 to three Cuban entities, namely Banco Popular de Ahorro, Banco Metropolitano SA or Banco de Crédito y Comercio (BANDEC). Remittances and Cuba Between 2005 and 2020, remittances represented 6% of Cuba’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to estimates by independent expert teams.
With this resumption of services, citizens of Cuba can ease the struggles they are facing while living on the 10 dollar pensions. Cubans have a “libreta”, a ration book that entitles them to buy food at State subsidized prices, and some elderly citizens are also able earn additional income from agricultural and other products like snacks and batteries.
Money transfers can only be made from Western Union physical locations and not through their website or mobile app.