Step 1: make a payment
Send an instruction to your bank (via online banking, telephone banking or in branch) to make an international payment of 1c or 1p. You can send it to one of the bank accounts listed on the next step.
Use the payment reference ‘CUBA’.
Make sure your payment is to an account which is outside your country. For example, if you are in Britain you can send it to MediCuba-Europa in Switzerland. To avoid a transaction fee, you may need to send it within the European Economic Area (EEA). Switzerland is outside the EEA.
Alternatively, send your payment to a friend or family abroad.
What to do if the bank contacts you
You may receive a phone call from the bank’s review team asking for the purpose and destination of the payment. Ask why they are reviewing the payment.
You can add that the group you are sending money to is an organisation that raises money to send medical aid to Cuba, and this is a cause you want to support.
Request a record of any telephone conversation you have with the bank at the end of each phone call.
Did the payment go through?
If it appears that the payment has gone through, start step 1 again using multiple transactions at once (for example, 10 separate payments of 1c/1p) until you trigger a sanctions review process. Try the other bank accounts if your transactions are not stopped.
When you make an international payment, your bank will often issue a remittance advice (confirmation message) if your payment went through. Check the messages on your online banking or ask the bank directly whether the payment has been processed.
Did the payment go through?
If the bank rejects the payment, or it isn’t received after five days, you need to begin a complaints process. Read the next slide to see how this works.
Step 2: complain to the bank
If the bank rejects your payment, you may receive a telephone call explaining why they rejected it. You must ask for this in writing. Ask them to send a letter or email to you with the reasons the payment was rejected. Write to the bank’s complaints department by email or letter. You should be able to find the address on their website.
Your first letter of complaint should be general: start by complaining that the reason they gave for delay/rejection is not adequate; that Cuba is not on any UK or European sanctions list; and that the US blockade of Cuba does not apply to banks outside the United States. Ask for a reply within five working days.
You can use the template letter of complaint #1 in the same folder as this presentation.
If the bank replies, regardless of the reasons they provide, or if they fail to reply within five working days, you should write back complaining that they are breaking the law and that your transaction should not have been subject to any delay or rejection.
Cite the relevant UK and European laws that counteract the US blockade. Warn that you will complain to a financial regulator if no satisfying response is given.
You can use the template letter of complaint #2 in the same folder as this presentation.
Did it work?
If the bank apologises, offers you compensation or claims that there was a mistake, ask them to put it in writing. Demand that they proceed with the original payment.
If they tell you to make the payment again, go back to step 1.
Use letter #3 in the same folder as this presentation to demand that the payment goes through.
If you are offered compensation, we encourage you to accept this and donate it to the #1c4Cuba local campaign in your country.
The details for campaigns in Britain, Ireland and Belgium are below. We hope that groups in other countries will sign up too.
You can also donate it to a legitimate fund for material aid for Cuba.
See the #1c4Cuba website for details of groups in other regions.
Step 3: Contact us
Whether or not the bank continues to reject your transactions, we ask you to submit information about your complaints process to the central #1c4Cuba campaign email.
We will use this information to help coordinate legal challenges in each country via the relevant authorities.
Email: [email protected]