and the Opinions of the Left
HAVANA TIMES — Recent announcements about Cuba’s imminent monetary unification do not afford us much information on the changes we can expect to see over time.
Talk about this reform measure has been going on for some time now, and the “Press Note” did not exactly explain the issue or offer anything resembling a chronogram or a sense of the concrete measures that will begin to be applied soon.
Rather, it aims at making the government’s decision to gradually re-establish a single currency in the country visible, against the more pessimistic opinions about this that have been circulating of late.
I find the comments that have been published in this connection very interesting. These go from detailed explanations on how the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) – Cuban Peso (CUP) exchange rate in different business contexts has changed over time to the psychological effects of the transition from a two-currency to a single-currency monetary system.
In a previous post, I commented that what the Cuban population needs today is not a specific currency but purchasing power, expressed numerically in any currency.
The official Press Note clarifies three points of “economic” importance:
– The measure aims at maintaining the Cuban Peso (“domestic currency”, “working class peso” or CUP), not the CUC or a hypothetical new, third currency (years ago, it was speculated Cuba’s economy would adopt the Sucre or a new currency, which was tentatively to be called the Mambi).
– Apparently, the current exchange rate of 25 CUP / 1 CUC will be maintained.
– Also (and this is very important), the government guarantees (at least in its official discourse) that bank deposits in the two currencies and foreign hard currencies will not be affected (against rumors and a number of past experiences with “currency changes”).
The “psychological” message behind this – which is just as clear as the financial one – is that we must forget, once and for all, of ever going back to the parity between the Cuban Peso and the US dollar…and that those areas of the country’s economy where such a fiction (and the non-mathematical category known as the “total currency”) still exists will gradually have to adjust to hard, current reality.
Now, we have to place this within the context of what I call the “dark triangle” of Cuba’s socio-economic reality, or, more specifically, of Cuba’s current “social question”, where the word “social” refers to social justice or equity.
To be continued…