Press Release from the Central Bank of Cuba

Campaign News | Saturday, 18 November 2006

Cuban Bank blasts Swiss for obeying US blockade laws

As is widely known, in late 2004, Cuba had to take measures to substitute the Cuban Convertible Peso for the dollar in monetary circulation, with the goal of frustrating the perfidious attempt by the United States government to prevent dollars in cash that had arrived in Cuba via completely legal channels from being utilized to pay for part of our imports of goods and services.

At the time, it was extensively explained how the U.S. government was bringing pressures to bear against the Swiss Bank UBS to prohibit it from carrying out its normal business with Cuba. That attempt was based exclusively on the terror being spread throughout the United States with its proclaimed policy of “you’re either with us or against us.”

As has occurred throughout all of these years, the actions of our enemies were defeated on that opportunity, as well: the dollar, the symbol of their imperial power, was humiliatingly expelled from Cuba; or commercial and financial relations continued to expand, and the credibility and respect for our country and its financial institutions are growing every day.

It should be added that based on that experience, our country’s far-sighted policy has been to substantially increase the use of other currencies in our international transactions, given that we are persuaded that the irresponsible materialistic U.S. policy, which has led it to fall into unsustainable fiscal and commercial deficits and placed its own currency in crisis, and the tendency for its gradual depreciation is now irreversible.

An example of how times have changed for the dollar is that at this moment, a simple statement by the president of the Central Bank of China regarding the composition of its reserves by currency type is enough to make the dollar depreciate, as occurred very recently.

It should not be forgotten that China today possesses the largest amount of monetary reserves on the planet (more than $1 billion dollars), four times more than those of the United States; hence, any comment by the Central Bank of China that is interpreted as an intention to reduce the amount of dollars in its reserves can have a negative impact on that currency.

To the great discomfort of the United States, the fate of its currency now depends - among other factors - on what is said in China. That is the fragility of the dollar at this time.

In the specific case of the Swill bank UBS and subsequently of another bank from that same country, Credit Suisse, an unfortunate subordination to the orders of the empire took place, providing an irrefutable example of how the United States imposes its laws in an extraterritorial manner, and decides who can or cannot do business with the institutions of other nations that are supposed to be free and sovereign.

In the case of UBS, coercion and blackmail may also be involved, given that an EFE news agency report dated Oct. 29, 2005 indicated that certain branches of that bank participated in the United States “food for oil” program imposed on Iraq, and according to investigations, at least five Swiss businesses paid the Iraqi government some $1 million each to win contracts in that country within that program. This was revealed to U.S. authorities, who were conducting the aforementioned investigations, and extraordinarily weakened their ability to act independently of the United States, even when they see themselves obliged to sacrifice their professional ethics, even by lying.

It should be added that, according international media reports, UBS was a generous donor to the election campaigns of Bush and his rival, John Kerry, which confirms its desire to win the complacence of the U.S. government no matter which party is in power.

More recently, the Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung published an article last Sunday in which it was justly noted that in Cuba’s case, there are no international sanctions but that nevertheless, the two aforementioned Swiss banks had broken off their business with our country.

This article said, among other things:

“In the case of Cuba, which has no international sanctions and is not in conflict with the organizations of the United Nations, the Cubans are boycotted by one country alone: the United States of America.”

Questioned by the press, on November 14, both banks offered the following explanation to the Swiss newspaper Le Temps:

“UBS is explaining its decision due to the high costs of monitoring respect for and conformity with the regulations for dealing with clients from the communist island. For Credit Suisse, ‘Cuba is one of the sensitive countries,’ the bank’s spokesman said, without expanding on what that means.”

In the same article, there are statements by Carlo Lombardini, business lawyer for the Geneva Bar Association, in which he says “Both Swiss banks are influenced by the U.S. viewpoint of the world. The cessation of transactions with Cuba is one of the consequences.”

Finally, we must ask: Who decides which countries are “sensitive” or not? And within what parameters is that classification based?

Or could it be that nobody knows that 50% of all the money-laundering in the world is done in the United States? Shouldn’t this be taken into account by the aforementioned banks in considering that the United States is a truly “sensitive” country with respect to acting in accordance with the laws of its financial system?

The answer is very simple: the actions of these two Swiss banks have nothing to do with respect for the law or precautions in their banking transactions. They are simply acts of submission to the United States, which they do not dare to admit.

Fortunately, there are few institutions like UBS or Credit Suisse that humiliatingly subordinate themselves to the United States, and there is a growing number of agencies and countries that are not disposed to blindly allying themselves with an empire whose repeated failures in the last few weeks are just the tip of the iceberg of its irreversible decadence.

(Translated by Granma International)

Extraterritorial application of US law implies blackmail and coercion, says Cuban bank

Havana, Nov 16 (Prensa Latina) The Central Bank of Cuba denounced Thursday that the application of US extraterritorial laws made two Swiss banks break links with Havana.

The Union de Banques Suisses (UBS) and the Credit Suisse sorrowfully subordinated to US orders, commented the Central Bank of Cuba in a press release made public this Thursday.

This is an irrefutable example, it adds, about how Washington imposes extraterritorial laws and decides on foreign institutions supposedly free and sovereign with whom they may or may not do business with.

In the case of the UBS coercion and blackmail could have been present, as Spanish news agency EFE revealed in a dispatch dated October 29, 2005, some of that bank?s subsidiaries participated in the United Nations “Oil for Food” Program imposed on Iraq.

According to a probe conducted on the case, at least five Swiss enterprises paid the Iraqi government about one million dollars each to obtain contracts in that country as part of that program.

This was exposed to US authorities who were the ones to conduct the probes and greatly weakened the companies? capacity to act with independence of the United States, being compelled to sacrifice their professional ethics and even lie.

International media reported that the UBS was a generous donor to George W. Bush?s election campaign, as well as to his opponent John Kerry, confirming the desire to win the annuance of the White House, whatever party was in government, it adds.

The Swiss paper “Sonntagszeitung” pointed out that in the case of Cuba there are no international sanctions and all the same, the mentioned banks ceased to do business with the island.

The article quoted by the Cuban Central Bank authorities, also states that “In the case of Cuba, there are no international sanctions nor is it in conflict with UN organizations, Cubans are boycotted by only one country, the United States of America.” Approached by the press, on November 14, both banks told Swiss daily “Le Temps” that “the UBS explains its decision on the high costs of surveillance procedures to guarantee respect and conformity to these laws to work with clients of the communist island.” For the Credit Suisse, “Cuba is one of the sensitive countries”, explained its spokesperson, without elaborating on the meaning of this phrase.

In the same article, there are statements by Carlo Lombardini, business lawyer of the Geneva Advocacy College, where he says that “both Swiss banks are influenced by the US vision of the world. The cease of operations with Cuba is one of the consequences.” Officials of the Central Bank of Cuba question themselves: who can decide which countries are sensitive and which are not?, what are the parameters to classify them? Or is it maybe that it is not known that from all the money laundered in the world, 50 per cent is done in the United States? Shouldn?t that be taken into account by the mentioned banks to consider the US as a country really “sensitive” concerning the legality of its financial system?, point out the Cuban financial authorities.

The actions of both those Swiss banks have nothing to do with law or the surveillance of banking transactions. It is simply an act of submission to the US they do not dare to confess, the authorities stressed.

Fortunately, there are very few institutions like the UBS or the Credit Suisse that shamefully submit to the United States, as an increasing number of enterprises and countries are not willing to pledge allegiance to the US, they concluded.

Two Swiss banks end Cuba dealings

Credit Suisse and UBS say they are no longer doing business with Caribbean nation.

ZURICH, Switzerland - Swiss banks Credit Suisse and UBS said they have severed relations with Cuba and are not conducting any business dealings with the country.

UBS (Charts) said it had not had any dealings with Cuba since 2005 while Credit Suisse (Charts) said it adopted a similar policy at the start of the year but would consider handling non-dollar payments although this was difficult.

"UBS does not maintain any relations with Cuba-domiciled individuals and also UBS does not execute any payments to Cuba. The policy, which was instituted in 2005, concerns a number of sensitive countries, including North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Sudan," a spokesman for UBS said.

Rival bank Credit Suisse said it had also decided not to enter into new business with sensitive countries since the start of the year.

"We do not do payments in U.S. dollars but payments in other currencies are possible if we can find a correspondent bank. But this is very difficult," a spokesman for Credit Suisse said, referring to Cuba.

In October, Cuba's government said that US trade sanctions over the last year had cost the country $4.1 billion in higher financial and shipping costs, lost business and cancelled contracts.

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