Cuba tells U.S. delegation monetary unification on cards this year

Cuba tells U.S. delegation monetary unification on cards this yearHAVANA, Feb. 21th  (Reuters) – Cuban government officials told a U.S. congressional delegation visiting Havana that this was the year to unify Cuba’s two currencies that were distorting the economy, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Cuba’s government has been working for years on establishing a single monetary system that would unify the two currencies that circulate on the Communist-run island at a variety of fixed exchange rates.

President Raul Castro said in December the reform could no longer be delayed but did not name a date for it.

“We did talk at considerable length about the importance of getting the Cuban currency unified,” Wyden said.

“The Cuban officials repeatedly said this was the year to get it done, to unify the currency.”

Cuba has the peso (CUP), in which most wages are paid and local goods are priced, and the convertible peso (CUC), used in tourism, foreign trade and some stores carrying imported goods.

Wyden was part of a delegation of Democratic U.S. lawmakers to Havana led by long-term advocate for engagement with Cuba, Senator Patrick Leahy.

The delegation, which met Castro on Tuesday, criticized the Republican administration of President Donald Trump for disengaging with Cuba at a crucial moment of transition.

Leahy said Castro was “animated and involved” in their “extremely candid conversation” that touched on bilateral relations as well as climate change and had a “positive outlook”.