Several Latin American embassies in Cuba have temporarily suspended their consular services following a directive from the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) that took effect this Friday and prevents them from charging them in Cuban pesos (CUP).
BCC Instruction 1/2022 establishes that, as of this day 24, “the accounts in Cuban pesos of embassies and consulates , no transfers are made to accounts in freely convertible currency, nor are payments made abroad.”
The same regulation adds that, before that date, they can decide “whether to convert their balance in whole or in part into convertible currency (MLC), applying the exchange rate in effect on the day of the transaction.”
With this instruction, embassies and consulates “may make cash deposits of foreign currency, except US dollars, for consular charges, if they so determine.”
The MLC is a virtual currency backed by foreign currency that has been circulating in Cuba since the end of al de 2019 for purchases at appliance and food stores.
The official exchange rate is 24 CUP, but it has never been quoted at that price and on the informal market is currently around 112 CUP.
The Panamanian consulate informed that it would temporarily cease services “that require payment”, such as ” legalizations, authentications, Merchant Marine services, as well as transit and tourist visa procedures”.
The Panamanian legation explained that the measure responds to the aforementioned BCC directive, “which modifies the regulation on transfers in Cuban pesos or dollars from the accounts of embassies and consulates in Cuba abroad”.
For its part, the Mexican embassy informed on Twitter that it was adopting a similar measure, but “in a indefinitely” due to this decision by the BCC.
“The Embassy of Mexico will inform you in due course of the changes in the payment methods”, he said in a statement.