WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department said on Monday it was adding American International Services, a unit of Fincimex, to the Cuba Restricted List, saying the Cuban military uses it to charge fees and manipulate the remittance and foreign currency market.
Military-owned Fincimex is the main Cuban partner of foreign credit card companies and money transfer firm Western Union WU.N, which Cubans in the United States have used for two decades to send money back to their loved ones on the Caribbean island.
“We urge anyone who sends remittances to family in Cuba to use means other than Cuban government-controlled remittance entities,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, he has been rolling back a detente with America’s old Cold War foe pursued by his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama.
Trump earlier this month banned U.S. citizens from bringing home rum or cigars from Cuba and from staying at Cuban government-owned hotels.
Trump’s aides believe his toughened stance has gone down well in the large Cuban-American community in South Florida, an important voting bloc in a state where he and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden are locked in a tight race.
Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Lisa Lambert and Timothy Ahmann; editing by Jonathan Oatis