US sanctions Cuban bank for links with military

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Jan 02, 2021, 07.45 AM(IST)

A Cuban bank Photograph:( AFP )

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The State Department announced the addition of the Banco Financiero International (BFI) to its Cuba Restricted List, which generally prohibits direct financial transactions with listed entities.

The United States has placed a Cuban bank on a list of restricted entities, saying its profits "disproportionately benefit the Cuban military" and help fund "Cuba's interference in Venezuela."

The State Department announced the addition of the Banco Financiero International (BFI) to its Cuba Restricted List, which generally prohibits direct financial transactions with listed entities.

"BFI is a Cuban military-controlled commercial bank that benefits directly from financial transactions at the expense of the Cuban people" while giving "preferential access" to military and state companies, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement.

To this end, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in a tweet: "I reject new punitive measure of #US State Department to tighten blockade against #Cuba.

"The inclusion of Cuban entities in its lists is intended to reinforce an economic siege that has failed to destroy the Cuban Revolution after 62 years."

Washington's move came amid speculation that the Trump administration is weighing whether to redesignate the island as a state sponsor of terrorism. Such a move, which would severely impede foreign investment, could hinder the diplomacy of President-elect Joe Biden.

January 3 will mark the 60th anniversary of the United States severing relations with the island following its communist revolution.

Tensions eased under President Barack Obama, who established diplomatic relations and removed Cuba from the terror list in 2015.

Biden, who was Obama's vice president, has given only broad details of his Cuba policy but has indicated he would again relax some restrictions while still raising concerns on human rights.

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