Convertible Pesos (CUC) or Cuban Pesos (CUP): The Same Dog With a
Different Collar / Calixto R. Martinez Arias
Posted on March 10, 2014
HAVANA, Cuba — The “hard currency collection stores” [as the government
itself named them], have started accepting both of the two Cuban
currencies. But with the high prices of the products, and the miserable
wages paid to Cubans, it does little to help out their pockets.
Following the demise of socialism (1994), two currencies began to
circulate in Havana: the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) with parity* to
the U.S. Dollar, and the Cuban Peso (CUP).
Opposition sectors launched the campaign “With the same money,” in the
face of the gap between those who have CUCs and those who depend on
CUPs. Although paying with either currency had been announced in the
official press (which few read) those who went to La Copa market in
Miramar on Wednesday were shocked. “Yes, starting today we are selling
in both currencies,” said the clerk, who added, “this type of selling is
starting as an experiment, and won’t be carried out in all the stores.
Here at La Copa, you can pay with either currency only for perfume,
cosmetics and personal care products.”
The measure doesn’t appear to benefit average Cubans. “Product prices
will be based on the current exchange rate of 25 CUP for one CUC,”
explained the La Copa worker, and she clarified, “Something that costs 2
CUC can be paid for with 50 CUP.” The ability to pay with either of the
two currencies, in a country where the average salary is 450 CUP — some
18 CUC — simply means avoiding the lines at the exchange kiosks, called
Here are the average salaries in CUC by province for the year 2012:
Ciego de Ávila ($20.6 0); Matanzas ($19.32); Cienfuegos ($19.00); Sancti
Spiritus ($18.92); and Pinar del Rio ($18.84). The provinces with the
lowest salaries were: Isla de la Juventud ($18.04) Guantanamo ($17.36)
and Santiago de Cuba ($17.32).
*Translator’s notes: While the CUC is nominally worth one US dollar,
exchange fees are added for tourists changing foreign currency — with an
additional fee for those changing U.S. Dollars versus other world
currencies — making it actually cost $1.10 or more.
Cubanet, 10 March 2014, Calixto R. Martinez Arias
Source: Convertible Pesos (CUC) or Cuban Pesos (CUP): The Same Dog With
a Different Collar / Calixto R. Martinez Arias | Translating Cuba –