Nicaragua is considering embracing Russian Mir bank cards for international trade transactions in an effort to circumvent US sanctions.
Mir is a Russian payment system independent of the one used by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT).
The US and its allies used SWIFT’s payment infrastructure to impose sanctions on Russian banks following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The system was also used to sanction Nicaragua after Daniel Ortega’s presidential victory came under sharp scrutiny. The sanctions restrict the operations of the Nicaraguan central bank and national commercial banks, in addition to curbing the business operations of errant companies and individuals in other countries.
Nicaragua’s Finance Minister Ivan Acosta Montalvan told a Russian Youtube channel that the country is seriously considering introducing Mir.
“We are already considering the Russian Mir payment system, which would allow us to move away from the US dollar,” Montalvan stated.
Ortega’s trade advisor, Laureano Facundo Ortega Murillo, stated during a recent Russia-Latin America Business Dialogue that Nicaragua is studying the adoption of the payment system in Cuba and plans to follow suit.
Mir cards began to be accepted in Cuba in March of this year, with people increasingly using them at local ATMs to withdraw cash.
Russian banks have already issued more than 129 million Mir cards since 2014. The cards are used in several countries, including Venezuela, Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, South Korea, Uzbekistan and Belarus.