The government has recently experimented with more favorable exchange rates for state enterprises that export, such as the sugar industry, paying them 10 to 12 pesos for each dollar earned.
But Cubas communiqué acknowledged that the currency unification will face many difficulties, noting that the government will have to update its laws, its computerized accounting programs and its training for all of those who handle transactions.
Not listed among the difficulties was the possible rebirth of a black market in currency as Cubans try to hedge against being caught with a disadvantageous currency. In the past to get around onerous government regulations and red tape, many Cubans have resorted to illegal businesses or cheat on their taxes and hide their true income.
Thats why there could be an increase in the value of the U.S. dollars or the European euro within the ... illegal black market, with the goal of preserving the surplus money that cannot be justified by its owners, wrote Miami radio commentator Max Lesnik in a Tuesday column.
Miami cafeteria worker Yvonne Medina said shes worried about her son-in-law in Havana. He is keeping thousands of CUCs in cash at home in unreported income from a bed and breakfast favored by European tourists, she said..
If he keeps them and they are devalued, he loses. If he reports them, he goes to jail, Medina said. But hes a smart man, and Cubans have been slipping their way around the government for many, many years.
Russians faced a possibly similar situation with their rubles after the collapse of their communist government and centrally controlled economy in 1991.
Foreigners and Russians who had dollars were previously legally required to exchange them for rubles at the official rate of one-to-one and the KGB made sure they did. But after the collapse, a dollar could bring 20, 30 and even 50 rubles in the illegal but easily accessed black market.
A three-hour Aeroflot flight within Russia that cost 400 rubles or 400 U.S. dollars before the collapse cost as little as $8 in black market rubles afterward until Aeroflot months later started charging foreigners in dollars.