© Reuters. A person passes by the doorway of a Western Union workplace in Havana, Cuba, November 23, 2020. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini/File Photo
By Dave Sherwood
HAVANA (Reuters) – Western Union (NYSE:) confirmed on Thursday it had briefly suspended remittances from the United States to Cuba greater than per week in the past, blaming what it described as technical points with processing transactions there.
Western Union stated its providers had been disrupted since Jan. 28. Several different corporations which supply related providers have additionally reported outages in current days, paralyzing a lifeline for Cubans struggling by way of the worst financial disaster in many years. Cuba’s state-run Banco Metropolitano and Fincimex have additionally reported outages.
“The technical issues exist with the processing of transactions on the island,” a Western Union spokesperson stated in an e-mail. “Western Union operations are stable, hence this being an isolated issue with money transfers sent from the US to Cuba only.”
Cuban officers didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the outage.
The administration of Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel reported a cyberattack on Jan. 31, which it stated had led it to place off a five-fold enhance in gasoline costs deliberate for Feb. 1. Officials haven’t mentioned a hyperlink between the reported cyberattack and remittance processing.
Western Union, among the many world’s high suppliers of cash switch providers, resumed remittances to the communist-run island in 2023, almost three years after the Trump administration put in place sanctions that had triggered a halt in service.
Remittances have lengthy been an important supply of revenue for Cuban households, however the want has grow to be much more acute of late amid a extreme financial disaster ensuing from tighter U.S. sanctions, the coronavirus pandemic and floundering tourism.
Studies present that just about 70% of the Cuban inhabitants receives remittances in various types, based on a 2023 Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)report, although there aren’t any official figures obtainable from the Cuban authorities.
The Western Union spokesperson advised Reuters the corporate was in search of to contact clients who’ve had transactions impacted.