WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman James P. McGovern, Chairman of the House Rules Committee, and Congressman Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement:
“We condemn the recently announced steps by the Treasury Department that will result in an effective halt to remittances to Cuba. The Treasury Department’s decision to prohibit U.S. remittance senders from using the most widely used financial intermediary in Cuba will disrupt remittance flows to families and further restrict support for the emerging private sector on the island.
“Rather than supporting the Cuban people and ensuring Cuban-Americans have the right to support loved ones on the island, this inhumane policy will deprive ordinary Cubans of basic resources. While purportedly intended to deny Cuba’s military access to funds, this decision will hurt the Cuban people most. By further closing channels through which the Cuban people can receive remittances, this will limit the ways Cuban-Americans may support their families during these difficult times.
“This measure is causing Western Union, a major remittance sender, to end operations in Cuba later this month. Some 700,000 Cubans in the U.S. send remittances to Cuba each year, totaling $1.5 billion a year. Shutting off Cubans’ access to this crucial lifeline in the middle of a global pandemic and economic crisis is cruel, heartless and frankly ineffective. While the Trump administration argues that it supports the Cuban people, its policies are having the opposite effect.
“We call on the Administration to reverse course, and to expand, rather than further contract, the channels of contact and support between the Cuban people and their families and loved ones in the United States.”