An Information Service of the Cuba Transition Project
Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies

University of Miami Issue 19 August 19, 2002

Cuba Transition Project, "Cuba's Foreign Debt," August 19, 2002


EUROPEAN UNION: $10.893 billion (According to the most recent data available

from the Banco Central de Cuba, the island's official foreign public debt

ascended to $10.893 billion at the end of 2001. Cuba has paid neither

principal nor interest since 1986 on multilateral obligations to the Club of

Paris [19 primarily Western European creditor nations].

EASTERN EUROPE: $2.2 billion (Estimated debt owed to former communist

regimes in Eastern Europe, now absorbed largely by a unified Germany and the

Czech Republic)

FORMER SOVIET UNION: $25 billion (Moscow and Havana are engaged in an

on-going dispute over a Cold War debt calculated by Russia at 20 billion

convertible roubles)

UNITED KINGDOM: $196 million (Outstanding debt arrears--including $28

million in short-term credits--to the UK's Export Credits Guarantee

Department. The ECGP has refused to underwrite any further British exports

to Cuba due to the island's poor payment history.)

JAPAN: $1.7 billion (Japan is Cuba's single principal creditor)

CHINA: $400 million (Beijing committed some $400 million in long-term loans

to Cuba during Jiang Zemin's state visit in April 2001)

ARGENTINA: $1.58 billion (Cuba's second largest creditor, after Japan)

MEXICO: $380 million (Refinanced under a 2002 accord)

VENEZUELA: $142 million (In unpaid petroleum purchases, even under highly

favorable financing terms)

CANADA: $73 million (Official public debt held by Ottawa. Excludes short-

and medium-term commercial debts to Canadian suppliers.)

CHILE: $20 million (Unpaid fish imports -- a typical case of default on a

foreign government's short-term food export credit program.)

SOUTH AFRICA: $85 million (Includes a delinquent $13-million guaranteed loan

for the acquisition of diesel engines in 1997)

NOTES: Cuba's foreign debt owed to numerous countries remains unpaid. The

Castro regime lacks the resources to even pay interest on these obligations.

Several European governments are now refusing to provide further export

credit to Cuba. According to a Reuters report on 6 July 2002, "the island is

notorious for paying its debts late...and public and private creditors

report that the situation has grown much worse in recent months." As The

Economist noted in May 2001, "France, Italy and South Africa have recently

cut off further credit to Cuba, in a bid to claw back some of what they are