The US dollar is making a comeback as the favored currency in communist-run Cuba as the country prepares to devalue the peso to relieve pressure on a battered economy.
Cuba has a unique system whereby two official currencies have existed side-by-side for nearly three decades, the Cuban peso and convertible peso, the CUC.Long lines outside food stores are a common sight in Havana amid chronic shortages of basic goods, and with the government planning to call time on the CUC shopkeepers are already rejecting the currency, driving a rush to dollars for those who can get them.
“CUC not accepted” reads the sign at the entry to one Havana shop.
The island’s economy, buffeted by ever-tightening US sanctions, has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, which has left Cuba without much-needed foreign revenue provided by its Caribbean beach tourism.
The UN Economic Commission for Latin America forecasts GDP to plummet 8.0 percent this year.