Cuban convertible peso
The convertible peso (sometimes given as CUC$ and informally called a cuc or a chavito) is one of two official currencies in Cuba, the other being the Cuban peso. It has been in limited use since 1994, when its value was pegged 1:1 to the United States dollar.
|Cuban convertible peso|
|peso cubano convertible (Spanish)|
|Symbol||$, CUC or CUC$|
|centavo convertible||¢ or c|
|Nickname||dollar, cuc or chavito|
|Banknotes||$1, $3, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|Freq. used||5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1|
|Rarely used||1¢, $5|
|Central bank||Central Bank of Cuba|
|Source||The World Factbook, 2006 est.|
|Pegged with||1.00 CUC = 1.00 U.S. dollar|
On 8 November 2004, the U.S. dollar ceased to be accepted in Cuban retail outlets and left the convertible peso as the only currency in circulation in many Cuban businesses. Officially exchangeable only within the country, its value was increased to US$1.08 in April 2005, but reverted to US$1.00 on 15 March 2011. The convertible peso is, by the pegged rate, the twelfth-highest-valued currency unit in the world and the highest-valued "peso" unit.
On 22 October 2013, it was announced that the currency is to be scrapped, with it being gradually unified with the lower-value Cuban peso, though as of September 2019, that unification has not been achieved, nor has any target date been officially announced.
In 1981–1989 Cuba used so-called INTUR coins and cheques. Convertible foreign currency was exchanged into these cheques rather than the national currency, which could be used to buy some luxury goods not available for purchase in the national currency.
From 1993 to 2004, the Cuban currency was split between the Cuban peso (the currency in which Cuban citizens are paid and which is used for staples and non-luxury items) and the U.S. dollar, in combination with the convertible peso, which was a foreign exchange certificate (in use since at least 1985) used for tourism and for luxury items. The Cuban peso (CUP) can be exchanged to the convertible peso (CUC) at exchange offices (CADECA) at a fixed rate of 24 CUP to 1 CUC (sell) and 25 CUP to 1 CUC (buy); but for state bookkeeping purposes, both pesos are valued at a 1:1 rate.
On 8 November 2004, the Cuban government withdrew the U.S. dollar from circulation, citing the need to retaliate against further sanctions from the Helms–Burton Act. After a grace period ending on November 14, 2004, a 10% surcharge began to be imposed when converting U.S. dollars into convertible pesos. The change was announced some weeks beforehand, and was extended by the grace period. It has been claimed that it was because the amounts of U.S. dollars being exchanged were more than anticipated. The measure helped the Cuban government collect hard currency.
In 1994, coins were introduced in denominations of 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos and 1 peso. The 5 pesos (rarely seen) was introduced in 1999, followed by the 1 centavo coins in 2000.
In 1994, the Central Bank of Cuba introduced notes in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 pesos. On 18 December 2006, the Central Bank introduced a new series of notes themed to "Socialist History and Achievements". The front of the notes are similar to its previous series, but on the back of the notes, instead of depicting the Cuban coat of arms on all denominations, each of the notes now has an individualized design.
|Image||Value||Dimensions||Main Color||Description||Date of issue||Date of first issue||Watermark|
|$1||150 x 70 mm||Dark green, tan, and yellow||Monument to José Martí in Havana||Death of José Martí in combat atop a horse at the Battle of Dos Rios||2006||December 18, 2006||José Martí and electrotype 1|
|$3||150 x 70 mm||Red, pink, and light green||Monument to Ernesto 'Che' Guevara in Santa Clara||Battle of Santa Clara: tank, derailed train, and soldiers with grenade, machine gun, and rifle||2006||December 18, 2006||José Martí and electrotype 3|
|$5||150 x 70 mm||Green, orange and yellow||Monument to Antonio Maceo in Havana||Protesta de Baraguá: Cuban general Antonio Maceo Grajales and Spanish captain general Arsenio Martínez de Campos y Antón in hammocks||2006||December 18, 2006||José Martí and electrotype 5|
|$10||150 x 70 mm||Brown, blue and green||Monument to Máximo Gómez in Havana||Revolución Energetica (Energy Revolution): electric power plant, pick-up truck, and linesman||2006||December 18, 2006||José Martí and electrotype 10|
|$20||150 x 70 mm||Dark blue, light blue, and yellow/green||Monument to Camilo Cienfuegos||Operacion Milagro (Operation Miracle): eye doctors performing surgery and passengers deplaning a jet||2006||December 18, 2006||José Martí and electrotype 20|
|$50||150 x 70 mm||Purple, orange, and yellow||Monument to Calixto García e Iñiguez in Havana||Marchers carrying flags and banners that read “Trincheras de Ideas Valen Mas Que Trinchera De Piedra” and “La Batalla de Ideas”||2006||December 18, 2006||José Martí and electrotype 50|
|$100||150 x 70 mm||Red, orange, and bright yellow||Monument to Carlos Manuel de Céspedes||Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA): satellite dish, map, woman and man reading, oil refinery||2006||December 18, 2006||José Martí and electrotype 100|
CUC and U.S. dollar
When U.S. banknotes are exchanged, a 10% tax is applied, plus an exchange commission. The 10% tax is not applied to other currencies; hence, American visitors may benefit by first changing their money into euros, Canadian dollars, or other hard currencies before they convert them to pesos, although such a benefit would depend on the rate at which they can get the third currency. (Some U.S. banks charge exchange margins of 10% or more.)
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- A little introduction to Cuba's dual currency system
- Cuban convertible peso banknotes (in English) (in German)