Cuba Halts Consular Services in Washington

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 07:57 PM


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Cuba Tuesday said its de facto embassy in Washington was forced to suspend passport and visa services, claiming US sanctions made it impossible to find a bank.

Cuba's has an "Interests Section" in the US capital in lieu of an embassy, a consequence of the Cold War rupture in relations between the two rivals.

The United States has had comprehensive economic sanctions -- a full embargo -- clamped on Cuba since 1962.

Cuba said that M&T Bank in July informed Havana it would no longer work with the Cuban Interests Section, and that it has not been able to find a bank for months to handle its every day accounts.

Now "due to the restrictions still in force, derived from the US policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, and despite the numerous efforts made with the Department of State and several banks, it has been impossible for the Cuban Interests Section to find a US or international bank with branches in the US to operate the bank accounts of the Cuban diplomatic missions," the Cuban office said.

"This situation will seriously affect the normal performance of the functions of the Cuban Interests Section and the Permanent Mission to the United Nations," it warned.

"Due to this circumstance of force majeure, the Cuban Interests Section is forced to interrupt consular services, starting from November 26, 2013, until further notice," the office added.

"Consular services will only be provided for humanitarian cases," it stressed.

Cuba complained that the United States' sanctions policy, and its failure to enable Havana to operate its office, ran counter to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and well as the 1977 bilateral agreement on Interests Sections.



© AFP 2014

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