Havana, Cuba – The Cuban Minister of Foreign Relations, Felipe Pérez Roque, stated in front of some 60 people that the circulation of the two types of currency on the island prevents citizens from acquiring basic necessities.
The encounter took place in the neighborhood, El Moro (the Moor), in the municipality Arroyo Naranjo (Orange Tree Creek), with the objective of motivating the locals to exercise a united vote in the elections of January 20th that turned into an event where the Foreign Secretary made his critical statements about the problematic nature of having the dual monetary system in the country.
“The dual monetary system is unjust because it makes it so that those who don’t have access to foreign currencies can not afford to buy articles of basic necessity, because the salaries have not risen to meet people’s expenses…and that it causes nutrition and housing problems amongst other things” states Pérez Roque.
This is the second occasion where a high ranking Cuban government official has recognized in public that the dual monetary system makes it hard to make ends meet by the end of month, but this time the declarations were not covered in the official press.
In Cuba two types of money exist: the Cuban Peso, the money in which the state pays its employees; and the convertible peso or CUC, a strong currency which was created in 1994 for the acquisition of imported consumer goods. One CUC is currently worth 24 Cuban pesos.
In December 2007, Latin American Federation of Rural Women (FLAMUR in Spanish) turned over a petition to the National Assembly with 10,738 signatures demanding that with the same money that the state uses to pay Cubans a decent wage, could be used to acquire whatever product or service in whatever establishment in the country.