The Associated Press
Published: April 28, 2007
HAVANA: The economics minister said Saturday that Cuba hopes to return to a
single currency, a departure from the current two-currency system that makes
many consumer goods unattainable for most Cubans.
Communist Cuba's dual economy emerged more than 15 years ago after the
country lost most of its preferential trade and aid with the collapse of the
"We have been advancing toward monetary unification," Economics Minister
Jose Luis Rodriguez told reporters during a briefing on the Cuban economy.
"That's the path." He did not provide specifics.
Today, the regular Cuban peso is what Cubans use for virtually all
government services — including utilities, transportation, and a monthly
food ration — and it is the only currency accepted at popular farmers
But the convertible Cuban peso, which is tied to foreign currencies, is the
only money accepted for electronics, packaged food, and other consumer goods
at most government-run stores. Cuban government workers, who earn on average
about US$15 (11) a month, cannot afford most of the items available in
convertible Cuban pesos at the foreign-currency stores, which are high
priced even by American or European standards.
Those who shop at the stores are mostly foreigners or the estimated 57
percent of Cubans who receive cash remittances from family living outside
Until 2 1/2 years ago, the U.S. dollar also circulated one-to-one alongside
the convertible Cuban peso.
The Central Bank later "revalued" the convertible peso so it trades at one
to US$1.08 (.79). That exchange does not take into account a surcharge of
about 10 percent to change U.S. dollars for the convertible pesos.