HAVANA TIMES – The United States announced sanctions on Thursday against Havin Bank LTD, a London-based Cuban entity also known as Havana International Bank, dealing a blow to the Cuban financial system, reported mercopress.com
The Treasury Department said it had placed the bank on its Office of Foreign Assets Control list of entities which US citizens and institutions can have no dealings with, with stiff fines for violators.
Havin Bank has been in operation since 1973, and is the only bank with entirely Cuban capital outside the island. Its principal shareholder is the Central Bank of Cuba.
The bank has a network of 400 correspondents around the world that provide banking services for the Cuban market.
The repercussions of the US sanction will be forthcoming when the different banking and trade companies evaluate their vulnerability.
The sanctions come just as the island’s Communist Party government has allowed the US currency to circulate, permitting some state stores to sell food and other basic products for dollars. It recently eliminated a 10 per cent tax on cash dollar transactions that had been in effect since 2004.
With the US presidential elections less than a hundred days away, Donald Trump continues to let Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez (New Jersey) guide his Cuba policy.
Step by step he is reversing an opening with Cuba initiated by former president Barack Obama*, hardening a trade embargo in effect since 1962.
In doing so, the Trump administration has cited human rights violations by Cuba and Havana’s support for the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.
[*Editors Note: Obama’s overtures to Cuba were sharply rejected by Fidel Castro who said he was just trying a new method to overthrow their revolution. Brother Raul Castro, then the president, and the rest of the Communist Party apparatus followed suit, attacking Obama at all levels. Now they have Donald Trump to deal with.]