At the end of the year, Cubans denounce a 'corralito' on remittances sent from abroad.

There are waiting lists of up to a month at the Banco Popular de Ahorro to cash remittances from abroad, amidst the famine that is shaking the Island.

At the end of the year, Cubans denounce a 'corralito' on remittances sent from abroad.

Several users have denounced the Cuban regime’s “corralito” on remittances sent from abroad, especially in euros, whose collection can be delayed for over a month.

“In December they paid orders from September,” a Banco Popular de Ahorro (BPA) client told DIARIO DE CUBA, requesting to remain anonymous.

The problem seems to be mainly outside Havana, in provinces like Santiago de Cuba, Mayabeque, and Camagüey, although not exclusively.

In an unrelated post published by BPA on Facebook, Melissa Fernández Miranda commented: “I need you to tell me why I haven’t received the money yet, sent from Italy on 12/12/2023.” Fernández did not specify from which part of the country she was claiming the euros.

An employee of BPA in Santiago de Cuba confirmed to this newspaper the cumbersome procedure to which remittance recipients are subjected.

“They must come to the bank, make a reservation, and when there is money, they are notified by phone to come and pick it up,” she explained.

Although she initially avoided setting the duration of the wait, she finally stated that it depended on “availability.”

“It could be a week, or a month. There is no fixed term,” she added.

“In Havana, it may take two or three weeks. In other parts of the country, there are more problems with euros, not so with dollars,” clarified Ángel Marcelo Rodríguez Pita, an independent consultant and economist, to DIARIO DE CUBA.

The expert cited as an example Italian and Swiss residents on the island, whose retirement pensions “are being withheld for up to six months.”

“There is no liquidity in euros. There is almost no European tourism, people leave the country with euros and also use them for embassy procedures,” added Rodríguez Pita.

Recent data from the VI Report on the State of Social Rights in Cuba, prepared by the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH), revealed that 27% of the population claims to receive remittances. Even so, 41% of the beneficiaries have problems purchasing essentials for survival.

Alternative Networks Against the State’s “Corralito”

In the USA, Spain, Mexico, Peru, and other countries, offers of fast local transfers continue to appear, promising to deliver on the island Cuban pesos or freely convertible currency, but in an amount much higher than the state exchange rate.

“Remittances to all of Cuba 100% guaranteed. For every 100 USD, 27,500 CUP. For every 105 USD, you receive 100 MLC,” a user from Miami posted in a Facebook group. She assured that the ways to enter the money are platforms such as Zelle, Bizum, CashApp, PayPal, TropiPay, and others.

“Remittances to Cuba from Spain via Bizum. For every 100 euros, we transfer 107 MLC or 26,000 CUP,” posted another intermediary.

Hundreds of similar advertisements barely show information about the operating companies and limit themselves to offering a WhatsApp number to arrange transactions. Despite the degree of informality and risk, many Cubans use these networks to “circumvent” the state’s corralito.

Manuel Marrero seemed to be referring to the participants in the black market of remittances when he spoke on Wednesday about “encouraging the capture and recovery of remittance flows.” The Havana regime knows that a significant portion of the foreign shipments “take other routes and do not go through financial institutions.” It intends to turn the situation around. The problem is how.