Denisse Delgado

Denisse Delgado

Graduada de Sociología en la Universidad de La Habana. Trabajó como investigadora del CIPS en Cuba y cursó en la escuela superior de Artes y Ciencias de Harvard. Actualmente, estudia el doctorado en Políticas Públicas en UMass Boston, Estados Unidos.

People connected to the internet at the entrance of a point of sale. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez

U.S. restrictive policies on Cuban remittances: effects on families and emerging private sector

The main United States remittance agency in Cuba, Western Union, closed its operations on November 26, 2020 after the U.S. government’s new restrictions the took effect. These new restrictions have at least three important effects. First, they damage the survival strategies of Cuban families, which are already experiencing the effects of the current economic crisis. Second, they hurt the emerging private sector. Third, they promote a change in the sending of remittances from formal to informal channels, which increases the prices of services and products for Cuban families and the emerging private sector, while reducing the transparency of regulators in both countries. Numbers in context: relevance of remittances in Cuba Over the years, the Cuban diaspora has played a vital role in the Cuban economy and in family income, to the point of constituting the second most important source of hard currency on the island.1 Of the more than 2.3 million Cubans who emigrated to the United States,2 some 700,000 send remittances to Cuba each year.3 Western Union transferred between 900 million and 1.5 billion U.S. dollars annually.4 Before the closure, Cubans residing in the United States sent funds in approximately 240,000 monthly payment transactions through Western Union, especially to...