On May 28, 2024, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) revised the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to enhance support for the Cuban people and independent Cuban private sector entrepreneurs. These amendments, effective on May 28, 2024, aim to promote internet freedom and broaden financial services in Cuba. In announcing these amendments, OFAC stated they were “in support of internet-based services to promote internet freedom in Cuba, support independent Cuban private sector entrepreneurs, and expand access to certain financial services for the Cuban people.” The U.S. Embassy in Cuba issued a press statement providing further details.

The latest amendments to the CACR will be effective on May 29, 2024, and include the following key revisions:

  • Internet-Based Services: The scope of authorized internet services has been expanded to include social media, video conferencing, e-learning, and cloud-based services, among others. Training and support for communication-related software development are also enhanced, and restrictions on certain export classifications have been lifted.
  • Support for Entrepreneurs: The term “self-employed individual” has been updated to “independent private sector entrepreneur,” now including private cooperatives and small businesses with up to 100 employees. This change aligns with Cuba’s authorization of small- and medium-sized enterprises. However, Cuban officials and Communist Party members are excluded from this definition.
  • Banking Access: Independent private sector entrepreneurs who are Cuban nationals are authorized to open, maintain, and remotely use U.S. bank accounts, including through online payment platforms, to conduct authorized or exempt transactions, regardless of their location.
  • U-Turn Transactions: The authorization for “U-turn” transactions, previously revoked in 2019, has been reinstated. This allows for certain fund transfers involving Cuba to pass through U.S. banks, provided that neither the originator nor beneficiary is under U.S. jurisdiction.
  • Reporting Requirements for Telecommunications: The amendment replaces the fax or mail reporting requirement for telecommunications-related transactions with an email reporting requirement and clarifies that the reporting requirement applies only to the non-banking institution entity providing telecommunications services.

Additionally, OFAC has updated and released new FAQs on its website to assist with the understanding of these changes (See FAQs 1174-1179 and FAQs 732, 736, 745, 748, 757, 769, 770, and 785), including a detailed definition of the term “independent private sector entrepreneur” and examples of authorized services.