Skip to main content

Cuba to do away with dual currency system

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Tue October 22, 2013
A shopkeeper talks to a customer in Santiago de Cuba, on July 10. Cuban government plans to end the dual-currency system.
A shopkeeper talks to a customer in Santiago de Cuba, on July 10. Cuban government plans to end the dual-currency system.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cuba has two currencies: the Cuban peso, CUP, and the hard currency convertible peso, CUC
  • Most Cubans are paid in the CUP; purchases of most goods require the CUC
  • The change is to be a gradual process, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma says

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- The Cuban government announced Tuesday it plans to end the country's dual-currency system.

Presently, most Cubans are paid in the Cuban peso, or CUP, while the vast majority of goods on the island are available only with the hard currency convertible peso, or CUC.

Convertible pesos are pegged to the U.S. dollar, while the Cuban pesos are worth only about 4 cents each.

Neither peso is accepted as currency outside of Cuba, where, according to government statistics, most Cubans make about $20 a month from their official salaries.

The dual system came into being after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Cuba introduced the U.S. dollar as the country's second currency.

In 2004, the government replaced the dollar with the convertible peso. The dual-currency system is unpopular with many Cubans, who complain that the Cuban pesos they received their salaries in are not accepted in stores that carry sought-after imported goods.

The announcement in the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma said the change is to be a gradual process, but gave no timetable.

"The currency unification isn't a measure that will resolve on its own the current problems of the economy. But its adoption is vital to restoring value to the Cuban peso," the announcement in Granma read.

For months, Cuban officials have said ending the two-currency system was a priority but the move would have a major impact on the government's gradual attempts to move from a centralized, communist-style economy.

The announcement Tuesday said the Cuban central bank will continue to back both currencies and give Cubans time to convert their savings.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:34 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
updated 9:22 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
updated 11:56 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT