The Cuban Money Crisis
February 8, 2016 3:12 AM   Subscribe

I need my coffee, I read this title as: "The Cuban Monkey Crisis" and got all excited. Sadly, no monkeys, just geo-political commentary.
posted by Fizz at 4:29 AM on February 8, 2016 [12 favorites]

I also misread this as "Cuban Monkey Crisis" and now I kind of wish that was a thing. Monkeys stealing cigars or something like that.
posted by Servo5678 at 4:51 AM on February 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

The article is almost a year old. How did it turn out?!?!
posted by snofoam at 5:26 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Monkeys. Everywhere.
posted by Wolof at 5:37 AM on February 8, 2016 [11 favorites]

Cuba decided to go on the Gibbon Standard.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:40 AM on February 8, 2016 [7 favorites]

Ah I read the date but forgot it is now 2016! Doesn't seem like much has changed in a year.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:48 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

CUCs aren’t paid to Cubans; islanders receive their wages in a different currency, the grubby national peso that features Che Guevara’s face, among others, but is worth just 1/25th as much as a CUC. Issued in shades of citrus and berry, the CUC—dollarized, tourist-friendly money—has for 21 years been the key to a better life in Cuba, as well as a stinging reminder of the difference between the haves and the have-nots.

Animal Monkey Farm
posted by acb at 5:50 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, doesn't China do something similar, with a firewall between the yuan and the convertible renminbi?
posted by acb at 5:53 AM on February 8, 2016

No, yuan is just another word for renminbi. China does have capital controls and constant open market bank operations to keep the currency roughly fixed to the dollar, but it doesn't affect ordinary individuals nearly as much.
posted by miyabo at 6:01 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Acb, you're thinking about the Chinese FEC notes. Those were phased out in 1994, apparently (though I first found out...uh...about three minutes ago).
posted by Bugbread at 6:46 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Those Cubans. sigh... everything's a crisis.
posted by Naberius at 8:14 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

All Cubans are equal, only some are more equal than others.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:43 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


hmm... this is interesting stuff...

...what's this, a zig-zag arrow pointing down?...

...what if I scroll a bit more, there's a white sp--


ow, my retinas
posted by JHarris at 5:00 PM on February 8, 2016

As I'm reading this I keep thinking - man this reads like really bad capitalist propaganda. Not that certain facts aren't true but there sure are a lot of shit statements (JHarris' quote above is one) that are straight up lazy in the least and disingenuous in the worst.

The other one I liked was how "Money was now only worth what Castro said!" As if, that's not what the fuck fiat currency is in like a majority of the world? Just because it's not a central bank? Just because it doesn't serve a specific group of interests aligned with your agenda, it's now a great rhetorical point. Or are you a goldbug, dear article-author?

Man I would love to see an actually nuanced article that dealt with historical contingencies and maybe more depth about the CUCs themselves and the process of their creation and all that. Instead we get a fluff piece attempting to score cheap rhetorical points against socialism. I had to stop reading about half way through it was just... ugh.
posted by symbioid at 7:13 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, mark me down as another one who sprained an eyeball rollin' em. This sort of rah-rah neoliberal horseshit is reminding me of the Yeltsin-era ideologues in Russia — there are huge problems with how the CUC is administered, but that Bloomberg isn't getting rich isn't one of them.
posted by klangklangston at 10:43 PM on February 8, 2016

Here is a short piece from the Economist that is less bonkers, New Internationalist on the 'New Cuba' in general and some words from Raul Castro.
Progress continues in the completion of the group of measures directed toward monetary unification, an extremely complex process which is indispensable to the efficient performance of the economy. It is worth reiterating what has been said on numerous occasions before our Parliament, about bank deposits being guaranteed, in international currencies, Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) and Cuban pesos (CUP), as well as cash held by the population, or national and foreign incorporated entities.

In the same way, the experimental process of creating non-agricultural cooperatives continues to advance, with the priorities of consolidating those which are in place and gradually advancing in the constitution of new cooperatives, without repeating the distortions already identified.

Along with this, slightly more than half a million Cubans are functioning as self-employed workers in multiple activities, a figure which will continue to increase in a gradual fashion, as restaurants and services for the population are transferred to this management mode, while preserving state ownership of buildings.

We will continue the process of transformations in Cuban society at our own pace, which we have sovereignly chosen, with the majority support of the people, in the interest of constructing a prosperous and sustainable socialism, the essential guarantee of our independence.
posted by asok at 3:54 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I remember the old Chinese FEC notes that bugbread mentioned above. They allowed people to buy coveted imported goods, especially electronics, and the exchange rate between FEC and RMB was something like 1:1.2 on the black market in late 80s/early 90s. But use of FEC wasn't very widespread, and I don't even remember what those bills looked like. The idea of having a CUC bus that accepts that currency only is pretty mindboggling. (Of course, China's international tourism industry back then was much much smaller, not to mention that its economy was bigger than that of Cuba's.)
posted by of strange foe at 11:17 AM on February 9, 2016

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