HAVANA TIMES — Beat Schmid, mediCuba-Suiza Program Coordinator, explained that Credit Suisse, the second largest bank in Switzerland joined the US Blockade against Cuba by refusing to perform banking transactions for that organization.
“The restriction occurs even though transfers are in Swiss francs and from a legal and officially recognized organization with 20 years of existence, which has even received funding from the Swiss government and local and provincial authorities,” said Schmid.
He adds that “the bank claims that its commitment is to adhere to the highest ethical standards that do not violate any sanction from Switzerland, the United Nations, the EU or USA. However the Embargo on Cuba is a sanction condemned by Switzerland and the UN.”
In effect it is “an extraterritorial application of the economic blockade against Cuba and for us it is absolutely illegitimate, the product of the fear of receiving US sanctions,” says the coordinator of mediCuba-Suiza.
“These grants are for projects in Cuba, raw materials for making basic medicines, support for endoscopic surgery in oncology, improved geriatric services and HIV programs,” says Schmid. He added that “the restriction directly affects the health of the Cuban people.”
Legally they can do little; “the Swiss government declared itself incompetent because it is a matter of a private business with their customers and there is no way to force them to change their attitude. After this decision by Credit Suisse any transaction having to do with Cuba may suffer the same fate. ”
The organization has other accounts “but the danger is that more banks adhere to this restriction. It’s a threat that can stretch. Cuba is already living with the problem of banks afraid of US sanctions.”
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