HAVANA TIMES — Cuba announced a new and immediate suspension of its consular services in the United States for an indefinite period, faced with the “impossibility” of finding a bank to service the accounts of its diplomatic mission in Washington D.C.
“The Cuban Interests Section is forced to suspend consular services as of the date of publication of this notice, until banking services are restored,” announced today the Cuban diplomatic mission in Washington in a statement.
Cuba already had to suspend consular services last November because its bank decided to stop providing services to diplomatic missions and the Interests Section could not find a new financial entity to carry its accounts.
However, faced with an uproar over the news, coming ??shortly before Christmas, a time of many family visits and tourist traffic to the island, the bank announced an extension and Cuba could reopen for consular services in early December on a temporary basis, until now.
The new closing comes despite the extra time as “it has been impossible for the Interests Section to find a bank based in the United States to assume the bank accounts of the Cuban diplomatic missions,” blaming “the restrictions derived from the policy of economic , commercial and financial blockade against Cuba by the US government.”
In its official statement, Cuba said it “regrets” the situation and “negative consequences for family visits, academic, cultural, educational, scientific, sports and any other exchanges between Cuba and the US.”
This week, the US State Department reiterated that since it knew of the situation it has been working “actively” with the Cuban Interests Section to find a new bank.
Apparently “more than 50 banks” were contacted and some are still “studying the request” to provide services to the Cuban legation, yet the State Dept. recognized there is no guarantee a new contract will take place before the current entity definitely closes the Cuban Interests Section accounts on March 1st.