Cuba Suspends Consular Services in the United States

Cuban Interest Section, in the Swiss Embassy, Washington DC.

Cuban Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy, Washington D.C. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons, under CC License.

The Cuban Interests Section in the United States announced the suspension of its consular services today due to a bank's inability to take care of its accounts in the country, according to an official communique [es] published on Cubadebate [es].

On July 12, M&T Bank informed the Cuban Interests Section in Washington DC that it would not continue servicing  foreign diplomatic missions, forcing the Cuban Interests Section and the Permanent Mission of Cuba at the United Nations to terminate their relationship and find a new bank with which to operate in a limited period of time. 


debido a las restricciones vigentes derivadas de la política de bloqueo económico, comercial y financiero del Gobierno norteamericano contra Cuba, ha sido imposible para la Sección de Intereses encontrar hasta la fecha un banco estadounidense o de otro país con sede en Estados Unidos, que asuma las cuentas bancarias de las misiones diplomáticas cubanas, a pesar de las múltiples gestiones realizadas con el Departamento de Estado y numerosas entidades bancarias.

to date, due to the restrictions resulting from the North American government's economic embargo, commercial, and financial policies against Cuba [es], it has been impossible for the Interests Section to find a U.S. or foreign bank in the United States that would undertake the bank accounts of the Cuban diplomatic missions, despite multiple efforts made by the Department of State and various banks.

As a result, the Cuba Interests Section suspended consular services until further notice. According to the official statement, “only humanitarian procedures, and others in a limited capacity, will be attended.” 

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, established on April 18, 1961, and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, established on April 24, 1963, stipulate that “the receiving State must provide all facilities to the diplomatic missions, including consular offices to carry out their functions.” 

On May 30, 1977, Cuba and the United States signed an agreement that established interest sections in the two countries as part of which “both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the letter of international treaties that govern diplomatic and consular relations.” 

The suspension of consular services will affect Cuban and U.S. citizens alike, due to the impossibility of completing procedures such as issuing passports, visas, legalization documents, and other services. Additionally, negative consequences are expected for family visits, academic, cultural, educational, scientific, and sports exchanges as well as those of any other nature between Cuba and the United States.


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