Latin America

Cuba continues its liberal opening by scrapping double currency

Struggling with a severe cash crunch caused by the coronavirus pandemic and tighter U.S. sanctions, Cuba is embarking on a dramatic currency reform

Cuba is embarking on a dramatic currency reform. Photo: Martchan/Shutterstock
Cuba is embarking on a dramatic currency reform. Photo: Martchan/Shutterstock

After the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, the Caribbean island of Cuba became an enemy of the U.S., taking on the role of Washington’s communist bogeyman in the western hemisphere. The nerve center of global capitalism responded to the new socialist state with decades of economic embargoes that made Cuba almost completely dependent on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

When the USSR disintegrated in 1990, aid to Cuba stopped and plunged the island into crisis. During what was called the “Special Period in Time of Peace,” Cuba’s GDP fell 34 percent and...

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