Tarjeta MIR

The MIR payment system, the Russian alternative to Visa and Mastercard, already operates in Cuba

Havana Cuba. — Since March 13, Cuban banks have begun to accept payments with MIR cards, a payment system used in Russia.

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

With MIR cards, equivalent in Russia to Visa or Mastercard, money withdrawals can be made by converting rubles into Cuban pesos.

“This favors the transactions of tourists and Russian businessmen on the island and challenges the blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba for more than six decades,” says a note that appeared in the newspaper. Granma.

“The payment system establishes links between financial organizations from both countries, including third parties that use these gateways, which breaks the direct and indirect effects of the economic war applied against Russia through Western sanctions, and that prohibit importing and export goods, services and technology”, adds the text.

The Russian ambassador in Havana, Andrei Guskov, said that the implementation of this system should have a positive effect on the increase in the flow of Russian tourists to the island.

Likewise, professor Luis René Fernández Tabío, a researcher at the International Economic Research Center of the University of Havana, has assessed that it is a contribution to the balance of payments and that, with it, Cuba can import goods and services from the Eurasian nation, in addition to protecting the bilateral bond from the negative impact of the blockade.

In statements collected by Granma, Fernández Tabío explained that the MIR payment system constitutes a step away from the Swift system and could favor the incorporation of Cuba into a transaction method when it becomes general, whether within the Brics (Brazil, Russia , India, China and South Africa) or “other alternative mechanisms created to escape the dominance of the dollar and its entire system of unilateral coercive economic measures”.

In Havana, ATMs are already operating where MIR card withdrawals can be made, converting them into Cuban pesos.

For some years Cubans have been using some online services of Russian banks behind the back of the government, as these pages remain open on the island and include Cuba in their services.

Another method that Cubans have been using in the informal market in their desire for financial freedom has to do with cryptocurrencies, currently there are many groups on Telegram and WhatsApp where you can even exchange to MLC.

Several sites have also emerged that facilitate the exchange of cryptocurrencies aimed at the Cuban public and payment gateways based on the blockchain that allow more freedom and connection of Cubans with the outside world.

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