Irish banks and US policy on Cuba

Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 01:09

Sir, – The decision by Bank of Ireland to block financial transfers to Cuba (“Bank of Ireland stops transfers to Cuba due to US embargo”, August 25th) is a clear example of the extraterritorial nature of the United States blockade of Cuba.

Ireland, together with its partners in the EU, opposes the blockade, which has been overwhelmingly condemned in 22 consecutive votes in the UN general assembly.

Under new legislation, the Single Euro Payment Area (Sepa) means that banks with tie-ins to financial institutions in the US are vulnerable to hefty financial penalties if they facilitate transfers to Cuba. The US is extending its blockade over the European Union and using Sepa to further isolate and weaken the Cuban economy.

The US blockade is an anachronistic and illegal piece of cold war legislation which should be withdrawn by Washington as part of a wider normalisation of relations between the US and Cuba. Ireland and its EU partners should resist the financial bullying by the US on this issue and think twice about endorsing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which will result in even closer harmonisation of financial relations between Brussels and Washington. – Yours, etc,

STEPHEN McCLOSKEY,

Director,

Centre for Global Education,

University Street, Belfast.