Cuba promises to make late debt payments by May

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Cuba promises to make late debt payments by May

Friday, February 21, 2020

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HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) — Cuba's Government has committed to paying off more than 30 million euros of late debt repayments it missed in 2019 by the end of May, in a letter seen by AFP.

The debts affect six countries: Britain, France, Japan, Spain, Belgium, and Austria. According to a diplomatic source, Cuba missed 32-33 million euros in reimbursements in 2019.

In a letter sent by Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas, the Caribbean island nation acknowledged that “circumstances dictated that we were not able to honour our commitments with certain creditors”.

The communication went to Odile Renaud-Basso, president of the Paris Club, a grouping of 14 major creditor nations that look for solutions to debtor countries' repayment problems.

Cabrisas was involved in the 2015 renegotiation of Cuba's debt that wiped 8.5 billion euros from the 11-billion euro debt it owed the Paris Club countries, with the remaining debt structured to be repaid gradually until 2033.

The minister's letter states that Cuba has “the intention of settling” its outstanding commitments by May 31, the earliest “realistic” date.
The country has been subjected over recent months to increasing US sanctions, first imposed in 1962, which have led to shortages of food and fuel.

As a result, Havana is increasingly reliant on the European Union, which has become its main investor with commercial exchanges worth almost US$3.5 billion in 2018.

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