Cuba lifts dollar ban

Cuban banks are once again accepting cash deposits in US dollars after a two-year ban was lifted on Monday, according to the Central Bank of Cuba. The ban was introduced in 2021 due to the ongoing US embargo, which caused “continuing difficulties”. However, the official reason for the lifting of the ban is the recent increase in tourism and the “gradual recovery of the service industry and the productive sector”. The resolution published in the Official Gazette on Monday made no mention of Cuba’s ongoing economic crisis, which has led to shortages of food, medicine, and petrol.

The resolution also acknowledged that the “economic pressure” from the United States, which had led to the ban in the first place, remained in place, and that the “root of the problem” had not been solved. Cuba has been under US sanctions for over sixty years, and these economic restrictions were further tightened under the Trump administration. The sanctions made it difficult for the Cuban Central Bank to find international banks willing to receive dollars in cash from the Communist-run island.

Cuban and US officials have been holding meetings to discuss the large number of Cubans trying to migrate to the US, with both countries keen to ensure “a safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration between Cuba and the United States”. After a record 220,000 Cubans were caught irregularly crossing the US-Mexico border in the 2022 fiscal year, officials from both countries are due to hold a “high-level meeting” in Washington on Wednesday to discuss migration.

The lifting of the ban on cash deposits in US dollars will likely come as a relief to Cubans, who have been facing severe economic hardship. The resolution is effective immediately, and while the economic problems in Cuba remain, the move is a small step towards easing the burden on the country’s citizens.

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