Cuba admits (tacitly) it froze foreign funds
The Cuban government on Monday acknowledged publicly, but tacitly, that
it froze the bank accounts of hundreds of foreign companies, the Mexican
newspaper La Jornada pointed out Tuesday.
However, the government abstained from indicating when it will release
those funds, which commercial sources place at about $1 billion, the
(foto2) The newspaper based its assessment on a statement by Foreign
Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca during the inauguration of the annual
Havana Trade Fair.
"Although the complexity of the current situation has forced us to adopt
various restrictive measures, including delays in the payments to
suppliers, these [measures] are of a temporary nature," Malmierca said.
"I can assure you that we are most willing to dialogue with our economic
partners, and that Cuba will continue to be a trustworthy market that
abides by its commitments."
The freeze began late last year. Trade sources told La Jornada that some
firms have received notices that their accounts will be reopened
gradually IF they continue to bring their products to the island.
Most of the foreign suppliers affected by the freeze halted their
deliveries, La Jornada says. Some insisted on collecting their money and
succeeded, but they lost their operating licenses in Cuba.
The newspaper said that no current trade figures are available but
estimates that Cuba last year exported US$3.78 billion in goods and
imported US$14.5 billion.
Cuban Colada (3 November 2009)