How the Cuban dictatorship uses GAESA to capture remittances and launder money

The lavish lifestyle enjoyed by Cuba’s communist elite and the machine of repression needed to keep them in power is expensive. Unfortunately, Cuban exiles have been a major source of cash to maintain it.

Emilio Morales reports in Diario de Cuba:

GAESA: Its Business Is Money Laundering, Not Managing Remittances

With the money from emigrants, the conglomerate led by Luis Alberto López-Callejas builds hotels and creates real estate assets. But there is much more.

Two weeks after the recommendations were delivered to the Biden Administration by the commission created by the US Government to study and implement the sending of remittances to Cuba without passing through its military’s hands, nothing has yet transpired.

Meanwhile, GAESA is still barred from handling remittances sent from the US. Despite the fact that at the end of 2021 the Central Bank of Cuba authorized the non-bank financial entity RED S.A. to process the dispatches, no US company has been contacted by this company.

As is well known, remittances to Cuba have always been controlled by the Cuban military. Since their authorization in 1993, they were controlled by CORPORACION CIMEX S.A., a company created by Cuban intelligence in Panama in 1978, officially registered in 1979. As part of CIMEX , years later the companies FINANCIERA CIMEX S.A. (1984) and American International Services S.A. (1988) were also created, also in Panama.

In 1993 these three companies began to manage the business of sending remittances to the island. At that time, as a solution to the crisis generated by the collapse of the socialist camp and the USSR, the dictator Fidel Castro was “dollarizing” the economy, a step conceived mainly at the expense of Cuban exiles.

All these companies created in Panama, and others created in different tax havens, were founded with a view to circumventing the US embargo. One of the most well-known companies was HAVANATUR S.A., which would be in charge of managing the trips of exiles from the United States to Cuba. This company was also part of CIMEX S.A. With this network the juiciest financial scheme that the Cuban regime ever managed to invent in 62 years of the “Revolution” was completed: remittances + travel by U.S. emigrants to Cuba. This magical formula also gave rise to a profitable market for “mules”.

This racket has generated even greater dividends than those obtained by Castro and his cronies after all the country’s industries were stolen in the initial years of the Revolution through nationalizations and confiscations without compensation for the foreign and large companies operating on the island back then.

Until 18 months ago, before the pandemic, this lucrative formula (remittances + trips by emigrants from the US to Cuba + the dollarized retail market), created based on migration and dividing families, was worth an estimated eight billion dollars yearly.

Fidel Castro turned the community of Cuban exiles into an inexhaustible source of capital

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2 thoughts on “How the Cuban dictatorship uses GAESA to capture remittances and launder money”

  1. Yes, it’s pretty much official: Castro, Inc., a parasite which MUST live off an external source, is critically dependent on the “diaspora” for sustenance, and the “diaspora” has provided it, is providing it and will continue to provide it, probably in ever-increasing amounts. It makes ZERO difference how the “diaspora” feels about this or how much it may dislike it, as long as it does it. Castro, Inc. does NOT care one way or the other as long as the money keeps coming in. So, no matter how hard Cuban exiles who are not feeding the monster may try to defeat it, I’m afraid the only hope is ordinary Cubans on the island, who are at a serious disadvantage. The outside world, of course, will do little or nothing to help them in real terms.

    The word tragic comes to mind. Lord have mercy.

  2. One would like to hold out hope that the “diaspora” would limit itself to indispensable aid to reduce the regime’s take as much as possible, but that is probably a vain hope. In practice, it has been the opposite–people sending and spending as much as they can, the only real limit being how much money they have. In most cases, it may not even be seen as an issue, let alone an obligation to cut back. It’s VERY sad.

    Again, if Cubans don’t do it, freeing Cuba will not happen. The world will NOT do it for us.

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