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Cuban Government Announces Unification of Dual Currency

By: Sofía Ramírez Fionda - Oct 22, 2013, 12:00 pm

EspañolAccording to an official statement from the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), published today by the Granma newspaper, the government of Raúl Castro is advancing towards the elimination of the two currencies in circulation in Cuba. The decision implies that stores accepting just Cuban pesos (CUP) would gradually begin to accept payments in Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) as well.

As expressed in Guideline No. 55 of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, adopted at the PCC Sixth Congress, “The move toward monetary unification must consider productivity and effectiveness of the mechanisms aimed at distribution and redistribution. The complexity of this process requires methodical preparation and execution.”

Initially, the decision will affect just commercial entities, in order to boost the economy.

Joe Azel, Senior scholar at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami, does not believe in the capacity of the Cuban government to carry out this change.

“[The unification] is a course of action that should be carried out in the future, by an ideally democratic government with a free market economy — but to do it, it is necessary to have international support in order to control the inflationary process it implies.”

He argues that the Cuban government does not have experience managing a convertible currency and agrees with the idea that the government of Raul Castro, which was supposed to bring reform to the Cuban economy, has not made serious improvements.

“All those decisions were designed to mantain the power,” Azel contends.

Those in Cuban government say that the double-currency change is a policy that requires gradual implementation, mostly because they will have to contemplate modifications to information and accounting systems, as well as staff training. Then they will need a strategy implemented correctly to restore the value of the Cuban peso.

Sofía Ramírez Fionda Sofía Ramírez Fionda

Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ramírez Fionda is a former Spanish-language editor and journalist with the PanAm Post. She holds degrees in political science and international relations, and you can follow her on Twitter @SofiFionda.