The U.S. State Department added a Cuban remittance company to its ‘blacklist’ claiming that it is an institution controlled by the Cuban Armed Forces and, as such, serves the “repressive apparatus” of the island’s authorities.
In a statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that American International Services (AIS) and its ally FINCIMEX charge fees and manipulate the remittance and currency markets to favor the regime led by Miguel Díaz-Canel ultimately.
“The profits earned from these operations disproportionately benefit the Cuban military, furthering repression of the Cuban people and funding Cuba’s meddling in Venezuela,” the head of U.S. diplomacy explained.
In this sense, he affirmed that the Cuban population “should be able to receive funds from their family abroad without having to line the pockets of their oppressors.” He suggested that Cuban expatriates use other channels to send money to the island.
The State Department said that adding AIS to Cuba’s list of restrictions promotes the Trump administration’s goal of “preventing the Cuban military from controlling and benefiting from the flow of remittances that should instead benefit the Cuban people.”
“The Cuban people deserve to live in freedom and dignity, able to choose their leadership and provide for themselves and their families,” Pompeo added, hoping that at some point, “the dream of freedom will come true.”
The high-ranking U.S. official recalled that U.S. President Donald Trump has already made it “clear” that he is on the side of the Cuban peoples “longstanding struggle for freedom and against the communist regime in Havana.”
“This action will reduce the regime’s capacity to repress its own people,” Pompeo reaffirmed on the subject through his Twitter account.
Today we placed sanctions on AIS, a Cuban military-controlled company that skims money from remittances sent to the Cuban people. AIS revenues fund the regime’s oppression and its interference in Venezuela. This action will reduce the regime's capacity to repress its own people.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 28, 2020
As expected, the communist authorities criticized the measure just as they did after the new sanctions imposed by the United States on the island last week, which prohibit the import of Cuban tobacco and alcohol and the accommodation of U.S. citizens in hotels on the island.
On Monday, Sept. 28, the State Department detailed the extensive list of lodgings and hotels owned or controlled by the Cuban military that was sanctioned. The names of the rest of the entities covered by the restrictions were published.
President Trump stressed that these latest measures, which come into effect on Sept. 29, are part of the ongoing struggle against “communist oppression” being waged by the White House, pointing out that the Treasury Department will enforce the sanctions against tourists who violate the regulations applied against the Cuban regime.