CEDA applauds new regulations supporting Cuban entrepreneurs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Center for Engagement and Advocacy in the Americas (CEDA) welcomes today’s (May 28)  regulatory changes announced by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) aimed at bolstering support for Cuban entrepreneurs and modernizing U.S. policy towards Cuba.

Today’s announcement represents a significant step forward in empowering the Cuban people and fostering constructive engagement between the United States and Cuba. By expanding access to internet-based services, facilitating financial transactions, and supporting independent entrepreneurship, these regulations signal a positive shift away from outdated Cold War-era policies towards a more logic-driven and people-centered approach.

“These updates are significant. We applaud the Biden administration’s decision to listen to the voices of Cuban entrepreneurs and civil society and take meaningful steps to support their aspirations for a brighter future,” said María José Espinosa, the Executive Director of CEDA. “For so long, outdated US trade regulations have made the lives of Cuban entrepreneurs markedly more difficult than they already are, as they endure restrictive regulations from both the U.S. and Cuban governments. Under these new regulations, Cuban entrepreneurs can process payments, hold a US bank account, and receive “U-turn” funds. This will have a positive impact on the Cuban private sector, which is in dire need of support.”

CEDA emphasizes the importance of heeding the recommendations of Cuban entrepreneurs and civil society actors in shaping U.S. policy towards Cuba. In July 2023, CEDA led a delegation of Cuban entrepreneurs to meet with policymakers in Washington. The entrepreneurs shared their recommendations on updating US trade policy, many of which are reflected in today’s amendments.

“These regulatory changes reflect a growing recognition that U.S. policy towards Cuba must prioritize engagement with the people, civil society organizations, and private businesses in Cuba,” added Espinosa. “It is high time for the U.S. government to take actions that reflect its aims of supporting the Cuban people. If increased economic freedom is an objective, the US must end all unnecessary restrictions on Cuban private businesses.”

CEDA calls on the Biden administration to build upon these positive steps by further easing restrictions on travel, trade, and financial transactions with the Cuban people, removing Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, and by working towards the normalization of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

Stay tuned for an upcoming webinar with U.S. and Cuban experts to dive deeper into the updated regulations and their potential impacts.

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