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Cuba’s entrepreneurs will be able to open bank accounts in the United States and access their money remotely, part of a series of measures by the US government aimed at supporting the expansion of the private sector in the Caribbean country, the Miami Herald reported.
The Biden administration will announce these and other new regulations this week aimed at helping Cuban entrepreneurs in Cuba import essential goods, such as food and medicine, more easily.
Currently, Cubans visiting the US can open bank accounts but can’t access their money back home because of the long-standing embargo. That embargo originally targeted the Cuban government, but has also affected private entrepreneurs who must find costly ways to pay for imports.
The new measures will also permit the provision of internet services, such as video-conferencing and cloud-based services, which were previously restricted. This change is expected to benefit Cuban software developers and potentially enable access to Google and Apple app stores.
Some of the changes also include the reversal of a Trump-era measure that prohibited US banks from processing transactions involving Cuba and banks in third countries.
The new policy comes as Cuba’s private sector has been expanding significantly over the past two years. Private businesses, including small and medium-sized firms, have grown dramatically and are on track to import more goods than the government itself.
Cuban officials also estimate that the private sector now employs more workers than state enterprises.
Even so, the changes will include restrictions on doing business with entities owned by the Cuban government and military. Private Cuban companies with owners listed on the Treasury’s “prohibited officials of the government of Cuba” will not benefit from these new rules.
Despite these changes, analysts said the success of these measures will depend on how clearly they define the responsibilities of US banks and companies, as well as the willingness of these entities to engage with Cuba’s private sector, given the country’s designated status as a state sponsor of terrorism.