Pressured by US sanctions, Cuba struggles to pay its debts
Havana: Foreign companies going unpaid, creditor countries told to be patient: as Cuba struggles under the weight of US sanctions it has also been struggling to pay its debts, raising serious concern among its partners.
Having negotiated a restructuring of its debt with 14 countries through the Paris Club of creditors in 2015, Cuba last year failed to make timely payments to six of them – Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Japan and Spain.
The Caribbean nation was supposed to pay those countries “$32 to $33 million” of the total $82 million due in 2019, one diplomatic source said. Its failure to do so leaves it facing stiff interest payments of 9 percent.
Facing this difficult problem, Cuba’s deputy prime minister Ricardo Cabrisas has sought to offer reassurance. In a letter to Paris Club president Odile Renaud-Basso and seen by AFP, he promised that Cuba would make its overdue payments by the end of May.
“They have to propose a precise calendar,” one ambassador said, expressing the general sense of impatience, even while admitting that the Cuban government “is going through a bad pass; they have no liquidity.”
Several diplomats interviewed by AFP expressed concern over what they said was the “precedent” of the overdue payments.
As one European diplomat put it: “They said they were going to pay their debts. There is no plan; there is a lack of credibility.”
Another diplomat noted that “we met Cabrisas at the beginning of the year” and he had a “defeatist tone.” – AFP