US officials say Russia sanctions will hit Cuba ‘in a matter of days’

Photo by Jessica Knowlden

7th March 2022

Cuba is likely to experience a significant economic setback because of the wide-ranging sanctions imposed by the US, EU, and others on Russia, following the invasion of Ukraine. US officials have said that they expect the effect to be felt within a matter of days. 

Speaking to Voice of America (VOA), Juan González, the Director of the US National Security Council for the Western Hemisphere, said that US sanctions against Russia will impact governments in Latin America that have strong ties with the government of Vladimir Putin, as is the case with Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.  

In an exclusive interview with the Spanish language service of the US government funded broadcaster, González, said that the sanctions against Russia were so robust that “they will have an impact on those countries that have economic affiliations with Russia, and that is by design”. 

Continuing, he said that US sanctions against thirteen of the largest financial institutions in Russia cannot fail to affect “any government or business that has business with these institutions.” He also noted that “governments that operate outside the international financial system will feel the squeeze based on these sanctions.” Observing that Venezuela and Nicaragua are going to feel pressure “just like Cuba”, he said that in Cuba’s case the US wanted “Cubans to be the ones who determine their future, and not a dictatorship”.  

His comments were echoed by Jon Piechowski, Senior Adviser to the State Department’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, who told VOA’s English language service that US government imposed economic sanctions on the Russia aimed at isolating the country from the global financial system, were also designed to impact on countries that have strong economic ties with Russia. Piechowski warned that “Countries that do not raise their voices are not contributing to peace”. He also criticised Latin and Caribbean countries that have not taken a position on the situation in Ukraine.  

So far the US has sanctioned more than a dozen major Russian financial institutions, including the Central Bank of Russia, its Sovereign Investment Fund, cut off Russia’s access to the US Dollar, and has expelled some Russian banks from the global interbank payment system, SWIFT. President Biden has said that more sanctions will follow. 

The EU, UK, and other governments including Japan and Switzerland, from where several important Cuban enterprises are managed, have imposed similar sanctions on Russia which are expected to result in collateral damage on Cuba’s ability to trade globally.  

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