US Dollar Taking Over in Cuba as CUC Plummets

By Circles Robinson

Photo: Reuters

HAVANA TIMES – Cuban government policy these days has put the US dollar back on a pedestal while the CUC takes a dive.

Cuba has three currencies circulating, but most Cubans receive salaries in only one, the regular peso CUP. The CUC was originally introduced in 2004 and is what most tourists use on the island.

Most stores selling in CUP or CUC have empty shelves as the government prefers to stock its new dollar stores. This benefits Cubans with family abroad and the government itself, whose military has a monopoly on retail sales.

The CUC, once on the par with the US Dollar, appears on its way out and people want to convert them to dollars. According to 14ymedio, the dollar is now trading on the street for 1.50 CUC and in some cases even more.

If basic products were available in the Army’s stores selling in CUC, the currency wouldn’t be such a hot potato. But the reality is that the only stores well-stocked are those selling in US dollars on bank cards.

Economists believe that of the two Cuban currencies, the old peso, which exchanges at 25 to one CUC will survive. They also see the once despised dollar playing an ever-greater role in the government’s survival economics. 

With Cuba closed for months to tourists and Cubans living abroad, the flow of dollars into the country plummeted. With the surge of new Covid-19 cases, especially in the capital, dollars will soon be even scanter. 

Related post: What Will I Buy at Cuba’s New Dollar Stores?


27 thoughts on “US Dollar Taking Over in Cuba as CUC Plummets

  • What is the latest on opening Havana for tourism? As far as I understand it is closed until the end of September? Any realistic chance they will open it up for October?

  • I’m Canadian and stayed in Casas. It is a pretty hard work to stay in one. You are exposed to all kinds of tricks that tourists face. A lot of the time the negatives of staying in a Casa outweigh the positives. I could go on and on about what a tourist faces while staying in a Casa but to illustrate it in short; a tourist in a Casa is watched by the owners as close as the Cuban Government watches its opposition. You can’t fart without someone knowing that you did.

  • The only negative thing I have ever heard Cuban’s say about Canadians: “Canadians only stay at the resorts. They don’t stay in Casas. Canadian’s tourist money goes to the big guys, not us little ones.”

  • Miami Cubans are not of one accord other than detestation of the Castros. Their opinions and political loyalties vary.

    Many Canadians have a smug view that because they are the largest single proportion of tourists to Cuba, that they are entitled to especial consideration. To the Castro regime, they are but a source of revenue.

    Another odd thing is that religious groups in Canada – and some in the US, visit Cuba as if on missions to convert. Frequently in their innocence, they think that Cubans appreciate such visits – and they often do, if it aids financially. There is however, no hostility towards Canadians.

    As one with fairly prolonged experience of living in Cuba with my Cuban family, I consider that the 7% membership of the Communist Party of Cuba is a fair representation of level of support, although some would argue that they join for the undoubted benefits of being seen to be ‘loyal’ to the regime.

    Among the younger generations especially university graduates, political scepticism is widespread, with much discussion, and more questions than answers. They pursue social networks avidly. Contact with former colleagues and family members who have emigrated (fled) to other countries, increases the demand for further information about alternative political systems.

    Some Cubans choose to describe themselves as “socialist” very few as “communist”.

    A very large percentage are politically numbed by the non-ending propaganda notices, pictures, posters, slogans and hoardings that surround them, along with radio and TV exhorting support for the “revolution”. Their concentration is however upon daily survival, not political involvement, as they feel powerless to hope for any change.

    Your question Mrs. Canadian, begs another more significant one!

    What choice do Cubans have in who they support?

  • “Who do the Cuban people support”

    Depends on who you talk to.
    Clearly the communist system doesn’t work.
    If they actually had a free and fair election with opposition parties that have access to the media the communists would get crushed.

    That’s why they don’t have them.

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