As President Obama’s visit draws nearer and new measures are being implement in the US, the Cuban government announced today that it will eliminate its 10% tax on the use of the US dollar on the island. The good news for the new wave of American tourists and especially for ordinary Cubans who receive US dollars from overseas.
“The Cuban government has decided to eliminate the 10 percent tax that it applies today on US dollars entering our country,” said Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
He said the decision should enter into force as soon as US authorities allow Cuban state institutions to use the dollar in transactions in the United States, as announced earlier in the week.
The new relaxations on the embargo, announced by the Obama government on Tuesday, officially entered into force on Wednesday.
Besides allowing Cuban institutions to carry out transactions in dollars in the United States the administration also relaxed travel restrictions on US citizens wishing to visit the island. Obama’s historic three-day visit to Cuba starts this coming Sunday.
Rodriguez told a press conference in Havana that in the coming days Cuban state institutions will see if in effect the United States has eliminated restrictions on who can use the dollar.
The elimination of the tax in Cuba will be effective only after verification that the Cuban State can use the dollar in its operations passing through the United States, specified Rodríguez. “While there is financial persecution, the tax remains,” he said.
The 10 percent tax on the US dollar was imposed by the government of Fidel Castro in 2004. Many Cubans in Cuba receive dollar remittances from relatives or friends in the United States, and were the most hurt by the measure.
with files from Havana Times havanatimes.org