Inflation Forces the Central Bank of Cuba to Raise the Limit per Traveler to 5,000 Pesos

The lines at the exchange houses were eternal as they were at the airport as well. (CADECA). (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 14 April 2022 — When arriving or leaving Cuban airports, travelers will be able to have 5,000 pesos in their pockets instead of the 2,000 authorized until now. Inflation has forced the Government to increase the limit in order to charge much higher customs taxes to those who bring merchandise. The new norm went into effect this Tuesday with its publication in the  Official Gazette.

On the other hand, the entry and exit of pesos in cash by post, air and sea, in any denomination or other payment instruments or credit titles, is prohibited.

Those who violate the limits will be sanctioned with the confiscation of the money, in addition to the possible legal actions that may entail, both civil and criminal sanctions.

The rule also recalls that the import and export of demonetized pieces and specimens of Cuban pesos with numismatic or patrimonial character are subject to specific regulations.

The entry and exit of Cuban pesos in the country has been regulated since 2012 at 2,000 pesos. Although in 2019 there was an update of the norm, whose origin is in 1999; the amount was not modified, which remained paralyzed as if the cost of living had not evolved in those years.

On this occasion, the Central Bank of Cuba has been forced to allow a significant increase. Despite the low value of 5,000 pesos, which at the official exchange rate is about 200 dollars and barely 50 on the black market, it represents an increase of 3,000 pesos with respect to the previous amount.

The spectacular rise in prices since the beginning of the Ordering Task*, tripling in many cases, has left the previous amount of 2,000 pesos a ridiculous amount. Travelers paying taxes at Customs no longer had enough cash to catch a taxi as prices had doubled or even tripled.

With the new norm, residents who return to Cuba and carry pesos will no longer have to stand in long lines to change foreign currency into national currency at the currency exchanges (Cadeca) at the airports, something that congested the air terminals and delayed the departures of the newcomers.

For years, what was not possible, on the other hand, was to get the now-defunct CUC (Cuban convertible pesos) out of the Island. Both the 2012 and 2019 regulations stated exhaustively: “The export and import of the means of payment called legal tender convertible peso, in any denomination, is prohibited.”

*Translator’s note: Tarea ordenamiento = the [so-called] ‘Ordering Task’, is a collection of measures that included 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 across the economy. 


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