Western Union resumes remittances to Cuba with pilot program

Washington, Jan 12.- After a two-year halt, Western Union (WU) has quietly resumed family remittance to Cuba through a pilot program with the hope of expanding its operations in the future, the company says, a much-anticipated step that provides Cuban-American families with a more reliable way to aid their families in Cuba.
“It is with great pleasure we announce the resumption of our operations in Cuba with an initial pilot phase of outbound service from the United States,” said Gabriella Fitzgerald, president of Western Union’s North American division.

According to a company statement, the service is only available in a few locations in Miami, including “select Florida Check Cashing, Navarro, Sedanos, La Fama Supermarkets, Exito Supermarkets, Mundo Communicatel, Price Choice Foodmarket, and J&R Century locations.”

The WU operations were suspended in November 2020 as part of the unilateral coercive measures announced since October of the same year by the former President Donald Trump administration.

Trump applied during his term (2017-2021) a maximum pressure policy against Cuba, tightening the long-standing economic, commercial and financial blockade and adopting 243 additional punitive measures.

On May 16, 2022, the State Department (SOD) announced the easing of some Trump’s provisions the Cuban Foreign Ministry (MINREX) considered “a limited step in the right direction”.

The announcements, made by Joe Biden, included the reestablishment of the Family Reunification Program and the intention to process 20,000 annual visas committed in the bilateral migratory agreements, as well as the reestablishment of flights and family remittances to Cuba.

However, this new easing does not change at all the hostile blockade, nor major economic measures taken by Trump including the lists of restricted entities, nor lift the prohibitions from traveling to Cuba, MINREX stated.

On January 4, the U.S. embassy in Havana resumed processing family reunification program proceedings, and flights to other Cuban provinces were reestablished.

(Taken from Prensa Latina)