HAVANA, Feb 9 Western Union said on Thursday that it had temporarily suspended remittances from the United States to Cuba due to “technical problems”due to the processing of transactions on the island, paralyzing a service for residents who are going through the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.
The disruption to services began on January 28, a Western Union spokesperson told Reuters, adding that the company was working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
“Technical issues exist with transaction processing on the island,” the spokesperson said in an email. And he noted that “Western Union’s operations are stable, so this is an isolated problem with money transfers sent only from the United States to Cuba.”
The company, among the main global providers of this type of service, resumed transfers to the island in 2023, almost three years after Donald Trump’s government launched a series of sanctions that caused the service to be interrupted.
Several other money transfer companies now also offer remittance services to Cuba and have reported problems with their processing in recent days.
Cuban officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter at hand.
However, the government of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said on January 31 that a cyberattack had led to the postponement of an unpopular five-fold increase in the current price of gasoline that was scheduled to take effect on February 1.
It was not immediately clear whether the cyberattack had affected the processing of remittances, long a crucial source of income for Cuban families.
Analysis reveals that almost 70% of the Cuban population receives remittances in various forms, according to a 2023 study by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), although there are no official figures available from the Government.