US Blockade Forces Cuban Interest Section in Washington to Close Consular Services

A statement by the Cuban Interest Section in the US capital, cited by   Cubadebate webpage, explains that despite countless contacts with the US Department of State and numerous banks, the office has been forced   to close consular services.

The Cuban office explains that on July 12, the M & T Bank notified that it would not continue to offer its services to foreign diplomatic missions. The Bank gave the Cuban Interest Section and the island?s permanent mission at the United Nations a limited period of time to finish relations and find a new bank.

But due to current restrictions derived from the US blockade against Cuba, the office has not been able to find another bank that keeps the bank accounts of the two diplomatic missions. For this reason, the Cuban Interest Section in Washington has been forced to suspend consular services as of November 26 till further notice, the statement explains and adds that the office will only attend to humanitarian issues and of other nature in a limited way.

The Cuban office has reiterated the US Department of State that the US government has the legal obligation to meet international conventions on services to be granted to diplomatic missions and consular offices   to facilitate their appropriate work.

The statement recalls the accord dated May 30, 1977, which set up the two interest sections both in Washington and Havana, in which both parties affirmed their commitment to international treaties that rule diplomatic and consular relations.

The Cuban office in Washington particularly regrets the inconveniences that this situation will have for Cuban and US citizens, due to the impossibility of the Consular Section to keep offering its services, which include the issuance of passports, visas, legalization of documents and others.

The statement concludes by saying that such inconveniences will have a negative impact on family visits, academic, cultural, educational, scientific and sports exchange between Cuba and the United States.

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