Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cuban Interests Section: One-stop shop

Cuban Interests Section. Photo: Ismael Francisco
In 1959, the Cuban government had consul general offices in nine U.S. cities: New York, Tampa, Boston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Washington.
A 10th office was in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Cuba had consulate offices in 15 cities, including such spots as Savannah, Georgia, and Detroit, Mich., one study showed. And there were 22 honorary consuls scattered across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
At the time, there were only about 150,000 Cubans living in the U.S., according to CubaDebate.
Now there are more than 1.8 million Cubans in the U.S.
Even so, the Cuban government has just one facility for consular affairs - a building located at 2630 16th St. NW in Washington, D.C.
That building has a current value of $11,497,100 - $7,363,130 for the land, $4,133,970 for the building, records show.
Cuban officials enjoy some perks. Their building is exempt from U.S. property taxes, for instance.
But the U.S. government has not been quite so accommodating when it comes to such things as banking. Cuban officials say no banks want to handle the Interest Section's banking needs over fears of U.S. economic sanctions.

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