US sanctions ‘put telecom firms off Cuba’ – government task force

09 September 2019

US sanctions on Cuba are dissuading American companies from investing in its telecom sector even as Washington plans to expand internet access on the Caribbean island, according to the final report of a US government task force.

Companies from fellow communist country China dominate Cuba’s telecom sector, which is something “worth challenging given concerns that the Cuban government potentially obtains its censorship equipment from Chinese Internet infrastructure providers,” the report said.

The Cuban government said the US state department’s creation of a Cuba internet task force in 2018 was “foreign interference”. 

“US companies informed the subcommittees they are often deterred from entering the market due to uncertainty caused by frequent changes to US regulations concerning Cuba,” the task force said. 

Former US president Barack Obama created a loophole for US telecom companies to provide certain services to Cuba. Current incumbent Donald Trump maintained the loophole but tightened the broader sanctions.