HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban Interests Section in Washington announced today the suspension of its consular services in the United States over the inability to get a bank to service their accounts in the country, reported dpa news.
The diplomatic mission warned of the “negative consequences” the situation will have for Cubans and Americans and exchanges with the island.
“The Interests Section particularly regrets the effects that this situation will cause Cuban and US citizens due to the inability of the consular section to continue facilitating the paperwork associated with the issuance of passports, visas, legalization of documents and other services,” said the diplomatic mission in a statement sent to reporters in Washington.
This situation, the statement noted, will have “negative consequences for family visits and academic, cultural, educational, scientific, sports and other types of exchanges between Cuba and the US.”
According to the Cuban mission, M & T, the bank operating their accounts in the USA, said back in July that it would no longer serve foreign diplomatic legations.
Since then, the statement adds, it was not possible to find a new financial institution willing to manage the Cuban accounts, “because of the restrictions resulting from the US government policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.”
This situation “will cause serious problems for the normal functioning of the Cuban Interests Section and the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations,” the statement further noted.
The first consequence: “The Cuban Interests Section is obliged to suspend, effective November 26, 2013, the consular services until further notice,” noting that it will only attend a “limited” number of issues such as “humanitarian proceedings.”
The Cuban diplomatic representation in the U.S. reminded the State Department of its “legal obligation to ensure compliance” with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations establishing that diplomatic missions should receive “every facility” to exercise their functions.
In the absence of direct diplomatic relations, Cuba and the United States maintains “interest sections” that allow them to provide consular services and maintain scant bilateral relations, for example on migration matters, although staff has serious action and movement restrictions.