Friday, August 26, 2011

Cuba's Dual Currency System Provides a Way to Cheat Shoppers

Yoani Sanchez - Award-Winning Cuban Blogger

Cuba's Dual Currency System Provides a Way to Cheat Shoppers
Posted: 8/25/11 09:59 AM ET

Her son pulled on her skirt asking for candy, while the guard demanded
the ticket from the cash register and someone asked, insistently, for
the purse-check ticket. In the midst of all this madness, she made the
mistake of not checking her change for the purchase, a little over 6 CUC
that had to last until the end of the month. When she got home she
discovered that hidden among the coins was one with the face of Che
Guevara, who, with his majestic gaze, tried to make himself pass for a
one convertible peso coin. The lady ran back to confront the vendor, but
no one paid any attention. She'd been ripped off by one of the most
common tricks of the hard currency stores: giving her a three Cuban peso
coin in place of a shiny CUC, with eight times the value. She had the
urge to throw that tiny coin through the window, but her husband
recommended she sell it to some tourist to recover the lost money.

Life offers these unpredictable somersaults. The face of Guevara, the
former Central Bank president (1960), looks at us now from a coin that
is used primarily as a souvenir or as an object of deception. That man
who had the irreverence -- some will say the disrespect -- to sign the
national bank notes with his brief nickname, "Che," is contained within
a circle of metal of doubtful value. Trapped in this monetary duality
that he never imagined hovering over the chimeric "New Man" of his
discourses. All around the hotels, now, one sees the elderly with their
poverty-level pensions, showing a foreigner the "merchandise" of these
shiny three-peso coins, with a beret and jacket-clad guerilla.
Meanwhile, the clever hand of a cashier managed to sneak them into a
client's change, taking advantage of the distraction of a confused
customer caught between the demands of her son for candy, and of the
doorman who checked her bag.

No comments:

Post a Comment