14ymedio, Madrid, 31 March 2022 — The Cuban authorities gave the green light this Wednesday for an extension to settle accounts in CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos). The Central Bank of Cuba announced in a note through its website and social networks that the deadline to convert deposits in the former convertible peso to another currency is now extended to 28 December 2022.
“The at-call savings accounts, fixed-term deposits and certificates of deposit of natural persons will be kept in that currency. During that period the holder will be able to decide whether to convert the account to Cuban pesos or opt for the certificate of deposit in foreign currency, according to the conditions established for this product,” said the statement, replicated by banking institutions throughout the Island.
The automatic conversion to Cuban pesos will be made on December 28 of this year if the holder has not made the change to another currency, be it dollars, euros or any freely convertible currency (MLC), through certificates of deposit, but in no case in cash.
“The collaborators [posted abroad], to whose bank accounts the 30% bonus is applied for purchases in commercial establishments, may request, from the account in Cuban pesos, to convert all or part of the balance they had at closing of December 2020 in their accounts in convertible pesos, to a certificate of deposits in foreign currency,” adds the text.
In addition, the note states that a representative can be appointed, by power of attorney, to make the changes that the account holder chooses.
Shortly before the start of 2021, the planned changes in the Ordering Task* aimed at putting an end to dual currency were announced. This certified the end of the CUC, comparable to the dollar, which had coexisted with the national currency on the island since 1994 and whose death was announced by Raúl Castro from the beginning of his term, without his being able to find the right moment to execute it.
The Central Bank of Cuba then warned of an adaptation period of 180 days so that those who still had CUCs could get rid of them. The deadline to transform the accounts, on the other hand, was much longer, until this March 30. However, this Wednesday, the extension was announced unexpectedly.
The change occurs just seven days after the same institution recalled that there was one week left to transform the deposits, although it is not the first time that measures related to the CUC have been extended. The exchange of currency in cash suffered at least three postponements, supposedly due to the pandemic.
The Cuban government has not reported for a long time how many CUCs are still in the deposits of the island’s banks, although it is likely to be a small amount, since before the end of the convertible peso was announced, most Cubans had already gotten rid of a coin they practically considered a zombie.
The few who have maintained these accounts face the depreciation of the national currency and, indirectly, of the CUC, since the State is changing it at the official rate of 1×24, also applicable for the dollar, although the banks do not offer the option to buy foreign exchange. To get dollars or euros, the only thing left is the black market at a rate that already exceeds 100 pesos.
*Translator’s note: Ordering Task: (Tarea ordenamiento) is a collection of measures that include eliminating the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), leaving the Cuban peso as the only national currency, raising prices, raising salaries (but not as much as prices), opening stores that take payment only in hard currency which must be in the form of specially issued pre-paid debit cards, and other measures.
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