Cuba prepares to end dual currency system

Havana

For more than two decades, Cubans have used a unique dual currency system to protect a fragile economy, but with just weeks of his mandate remaining, President Raul Castro has signaled much-delayed change is finally coming. Plans to scrap the divisive system were first mooted in 2003 as part of a series of market-oriented reforms introduced by Castro, who is due to step down in April. Now, after years of delays, authorities on the Caribbean island are finally expected to bite the bullet and begin consolidating the two currencies, despite fears of a shock to the economy. “This issue has taken us too long and it cannot be delayed any longer,” Castro said in a speech in December. The government has resisted any commitment to a timetable, but many observers believe a meeting of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) next month will finally set the process in motion.—AFP

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