Photo: July 26,1953 Castro launches revolution
In anticipation of the July 26th rally where Raul will deliver Cuba’s state of the Union Address, hopes of dealing with currency problem is high on many peoples list.
Cuba has a very unpopular dual currency system. There is the Convertible currency (CUC) instituted in 1994 and the non-convertible currency, the Cuban peso. Workers are paid in Cuban pesos and must convert them to the CUC at very unfavorable exchange rates. Shops only take CUC’s for such popular items as bath soap, toothpaste, cooking oil and butter.
It is hopeful that when the Communist Party Conference meets in November that it will address the Cuban economy and the establishment of a single currency. The party has said that the surviving currency will be the Cuban peso. This appears supported by the fact that several stores and restaurants have recently opened up across the country selling products normally priced in CUC for Cuban pesos. The problem is that they are priced at much higher costs.
A can of beer is 10 pesos; a large can of tomato puree is 120 pesos. One university professor and department head said that even on her salary of more than 600 pesos a month—well over the average—she can rarely afford these items. “It costs 100 pesos, if I’m lucky, to take my three children for a simple lunch at one of the peso cafeterias. How many days’ work does that 100 pesos represent,” she asked