HAVANA, Cuba. – Viazul, the state’s bus-transportation company, resumed its itineraries to various destinations in Cuba charging in US Dollars; it will only accept as payment Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards.
Even though Cuban nationals only have access to convertible hard-currency cards issued by banks in the island, but these will not be accepted to purchase tickets on Viazul.
According to the company’s website, it “only operates with convertible hard currency through international cards, and charges will be made against them according to the exchange rate on the day the reservation is paid for.”
In fact, Viazul categorically stated that sales will not be transacted in cash under any circumstances. “Only those cards that belong to individuals who can prove their ownership –Visa, Mastercard and American Express- will be accepted, and after requesting that reimbursement be made directly to the bank and to the same card with which payment was made,” stated the company.
The measure has generated discontent among the population, since no Cuban who resides in the island can opt for this type of card.
To that end, Viazul proposed as a solution a form of deferred payment through a purchase request sent via e-mail, which would be followed by the issuance of the reservation. In that respect, the procedure would force Cuban nationals to ask a person who resides abroad to make the payment. This has generated lots of discontent among Cubans.
However, “Viazul cannot make a firm commitment to keep those reservations throughout this process. Should there be no availability at the time of payment, funds will be reimbursed to the account where the payment originated.”
“You mean that payment will only be valid through international cards?” asked Facebook user Dayvi Suárez. “And, if a Cuban who lives in the island wants to pay his ticket with his convertible hard-currency card, does this mean that he will not be able to do it? Discrimination against Cubans continues; not even if one’s card has Euros deposited in it can such a purchase be made. It’s also absurd since buses will run half empty when they could be full by selling to Cuban nationals and to tourists from the United States,” Suárez complained.
Viazul is a branch of the National Bus Company of Cuba, which services tourists and the small number of Cubans who can afford its prices.
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