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It is evident that the limitation of this influence in a real or symbolic way would happen through the exit of FINCIMEX from any remittance business scheme and it also seems that it would happen through ensuring that the remittance is delivered in hard currency.

What impacts of remittances?

It is usually considered that remittances sent to Cubans from abroad are sustenance for the regime, but they are indeed also a sustenance for relatives who, in current circumstances of shortages and deprivations of all kinds, alleviate their particular situation.

Between June 25 and July 19 of this year, the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights carried out a new research on the state of social rights in Cuba (the fourth of its kind, near to be published). More than a thousand Cubans were consulted on the island on different issues that affect their quality of life, such as household income, access to medicine and food, the conditions of their homes, the main social problems, the government’s management of issues such as the pandemic, among others.

One of the questions we asked in the interviews was precisely about remittances. The study found that 36.9% of households received some type of remittance in recent months.

It should be clarified that when collecting data, the OCDH did not express or define what should be considered as a remittance. This is a matter to take into account since the tendency is to consider as part of the remittances not just the money transferred but the purchase of products (from both national or international markets) to be delivered, as well as the well-known telephone recharges (which, by the way, have opened a new space of economic exchange, not only through the sale of minutes, but through the sale of the telephone balance). That is, in practice, for a Cuban, a «remittance» is any type of aid received from abroad, commonly from a relative and usually on a regular basis.

We asked Cubans about which sectors of the population they consider are having the worst time in the current context; and the most general opinion was that the most affected are the elderly people, followed by those who do not receive remittances, and, thirdly, the unemployed.

When analyzing the relationship between the existence of family remittances and the economic situation of the household, the positive association between them is very clear: remittances facilitate families the acquisition of essential products.

Taking these into account, as well as the impoverished situation in which the Cuban population lives due to the socio-economic unviability of the regime, is that we consider remittances a humanitarian issue.

Last modified: 2 de septiembre de 2021