HAVANA, June 19th The Consulate of Spain in Cuba reported this Friday that as of July 1 it will begin to charge for its consular services in euros, only in cash and with the exact amount.
Services such as making passports will cost 30 euros (31.40 dollars at today’s exchange rate), visas 80 euros (83.73 dollars), and legalizations 10 euros (10.47 dollars), among others, as the Consulate specified in its Twitter account.
The Spanish diplomatic representation did not explain the reason for the decision, which occurs a week after several Latin American embassies in Cuba announced the suspension of their consular services following a directive from the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC).
Instruction 1/2022 of the BCC establishes that they can charge for their consular services “in foreign currency or in Cuban pesos (CUP),” as they themselves establish.
But this measure does not allow them to exchange into international currencies the income from consular procedures invoiced in Cuban pesos. The CUP cannot be converted in other countries.
The embassies and consulates that determine to charge the consular services in CUP will only be able to “deposit the funds in an account in that currency,” warned the instruction, which puts an end to a practice that has been routine until now.
The BCC also indicated that “from the accounts in Cuban pesos of the embassies and consulates” it will not be possible to make “transfers to accounts in freely convertible currency, nor payments abroad.”
The freely convertible currency is a virtual currency valid only in Cuba and is a reference for currencies. It has been used in the country since the end of 2019 and is valid in a network of stores selling food products, household appliances, and other items.
The BCC’s decision was received critically by some embassies because it prevents them from transferring to their countries in foreign currency the money obtained in CUP as they did until now as a consular collection for the services they provide.
The measure is related, according to various sources, to the difference between the official rate — one dollar equal to 24 pesos — and the exchange rate in the informal market where the USD currently costs about 100 CUP.
Meanwhile, the euro is officially exchanged at 27 pesos and in the informal market at 115 CUP.
The exchange of national to foreign currency at the official rate and the exit of these currencies from the country was disadvantageous for Cuba, these sources added.