Cuba contacts embassies that suspended consular services

Cuban Embassy in Mexico.

Cuban Embassy in Mexico.

The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINRIX), confirmed, on Saturday, that it is “still in contact” with the embassies that have suspended consular services due to monetary measures.

The diplomatic representations of Panama, Mexico and Ecuador reported the day before that they had suspended consular services indefinitely, at the direction of the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) not allowing it to exchange income from procedures billed in Cuban pesos (COP). ) in a foreign currency.

The Director-General of Consular Affairs and Cubans Residing Abroad at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Soberon, said Saturday on Twitter that MINRIX “maintains communication with these Cuban embassies and financial institutions, with the aim of resolving this specific situation as possible and with the least damage” to Cuban citizens.

Referring to the aforementioned BCC instructions that took effect the day before, the diplomat noted that embassies and consulates can charge fees for their consular services “in foreign currency or Cuban pesos”, as they themselves admit.

The document adds, however, as a novelty, that embassies and consulates that decide to charge consular services in Cuban pesos can only “deposit funds into an account in that currency.”

The report notes that “from the accounts of embassies and consulates in Cuban pesos” it will not be possible to make “transfers to accounts in a freely convertible currency, nor payments abroad.”

Freely convertible currency (MLC) is a virtual currency valid only in Cuba and referred to as currencies, which has been in circulation in the country since the end of 2019 and is valid in a network of food and hardware stores.

BCC instructions also allow for payment of consular formalities by transfer, either in pesos or in foreign currency, except for US dollars.

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Some embassies received the BCC’s decision decisively because it prevents them from transferring money obtained from consular collections for services they provide to their countries.

The scale, according to various sources, is related to the difference between the official exchange rate – from 1 dollar to 24 pesos – and the unofficial rate, since the US bill currently costs about 100 kopecks.

These sources added that the conversion of the national currency into foreign currencies at the official rate and the exit of these currencies from the country was unfavorable to Cuba.

Then Panama, Mexico and Ecuador announced the decision to suspend their consular services.

At least seven European embassies – including Italy and Germany – had already charged fees for their consular services in euros prior to the BCC announcement. Spain currently requires payments to be in the cup and has not yet reported any changes.

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