Rhetoric, Remittances and Reality

Monday, January 11, 2016
There was an article in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend entitled, "In Cuba, Cash Trickles In for Budding Capitalists."

The byline (and narrative) argued:

"Obama administration’s removal of U.S. limits on money transfers is helping small, private businesses get started or expand."

Yet, here's the sole example given of this narrative:

"Cubans such as retired teacher Rafaela Suarez are the beneficiaries. With money wired by a brother-in-law in Miami, Ms. Suarez, 68 years old, has built a cafe inside her tiny first-floor apartment in Havana’s once swanky Vedado neighborhood not far from the Cuban capital’s Plaza of the Revolution.

'That’s what helped me get started,' Ms. Suarez said of the wired cash—$40 in one transfer, perhaps $100 the next—as she swept the small kitchen that serves as a dining room for customers and off-hours parlor for her. 'It was crucial for me.'"


None of this is different than what remittance regulations permitted -- and what took place -- under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The article also mentions Western Union, which serves as "a major conduit of the remittances flow."

While on the subject, here's a tip for journalists:

Why not investigate how Western Union discriminates against which Cubans can receive money on the island?

For example, Western Union recently informed the family of Cuban democracy leader, Jose Daniel Ferrer, that they can not send him any money to the island.

Western Union is probably acting at the behest of its processing partner on the island, CIMEX, which is owned by the Cuban military conglomerate, GAESA.

In other words, Western Union is now acting as an organ of Castro's security apparatus.

Not as warm and fuzzy a story -- but very real.