Tarjeta MIR

MIR Card System, the Russian Alternative to Visa and Mastercard, Is Already Operant in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba. –Since March 13thCuban banks have started to accept payments with MIR cards, a payment system used in Russia.

According to Cuban state press, the new operations are part of the tightening of economic and financial relations between Moscow and Havana.

MIR cards, the equivalent in Russia to Visa and Mastercard, will enable cash withdrawals that will convert rubles to Cuban pesos.

“This favors transactions by Russian tourists and businessmen on the island and defies the six-decades long blockade of the US against Cuba,” states a press note in the daily Granma.

“This payment system establishes links between financial institutions in Both countries, including third parties who use the platform, which breaks the direct and indirect effects of the economic war waged against Russia through Western sanctions, and which bar the import and export of goods, services and technology,” states the text.

Russia’s ambassador in Havana, Andrei Guskov, said that enabling the system should reflect positively on Russian tourism to the island by increasing its flow.

Similarly, Professor Luis René Fernández Tabío, chief researcher at the Research Center for the International Economy at the University of Havana, has evaluated the adoption of MIR cards as a contribution to the balance of payments which enables Cuba to import goods and services from Russia and protect the bilateral link from the (West’s]blockade’s negative impact.

In statements he made to Granma, Fernández Tabío explained that the MIR payment system constitutes a step outside the Swift system, and will favor the incorporation of Cuba into a transactions method the moment it becomes generalized, be it within BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India , China and South Africa) or in “other alternative mechanisms created to avoid the predominance of the US Dollar and all other systems of coercive, unilateral economic measures.”

In Havana, automatic cashiers are already being used, where a user can make withdrawals in MIR cards that issue Cuban pesos.

Cubans have been using online services in Russian banks behind the government’s back for many years, for these pages remain open in the island and include Cuba among its services.

Another method that Cubans have been using in the informal market as they aim for financial freedom is cryptocurrency. There are many groups today on Telegram and WhatsApp, where Cubans can trade even to freely convertible currency, or MLCs.

Some sites have emerged that facilitate cryptocurrency exchanges aimed at the Cuban public, as well as payment platforms based on Blockchain, which allow Cubans greater freedom and connection with the outside world.

The opinions expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the person who issues them and do not necessarily represent the opinion of CubaNet.

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