Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
“Communist stalwart Miguel Diaz-Canel becomes Cuba’s president, ending decades of Castro rule”
Fingers crossed for them. I say that (new boss / old boss), as that’s just what simply comes to mind. But I dunno. I hope for more positive changes. I’ve seen the benefit since the 2008 transfer from Fidel to Raul, and then the Obama détente, and in last November’s trip, the DEFINITE pall that’s been cast since Trump rolled back some of those benefits. As a few fellow travelling friends said then, Cubans have seen the benefit economically of having American tourism dollars roll in unabated, and now they’ve “had a taste”, so there’s a definite depressive feeling since it’s disappeared a bit again.
And as the CBC News story mentions, there is also the concern of removing the two-peso-system in place there (with both the CUC and CPE pesos in use), and the worry among some of us cigar travelers that we could wake up with our pocketed CUCs (sometimes said as the “C-U-C” letters, or stating CUCs in plural such as “cooks”, or more jokingly “cookies”) suddenly unusable overnight. Though “the rules” on the island state that the CUC money is not to leave the island, and should be exchanged back-and-forth when arriving and leaving, there’s quite a few of us that pocket a few hundred bucks in hand when we leave, so that we have ready cash available for our next return to Cuba. To simply have readily-available funds to grab a taxi at 3am from the airport, or something like that. Some moolah on hand for hitting a restaurant or bar that first evening on the island, to be able to not fret about needing to hit a cadeca (money exchange) until later the next day or as needed.
So that is something that’s been talked about for 2 or 3 years now at least, about a perhaps overnight transition of their financial system, with some of us worried about any personally-held CUCs to be potentially worthless. And the sounds back when a lot of it was first mentioned, a few years back, and discussed then was that the two-peso-system would remain until a Castro wasn’t in power. So there’s a lot of chance that it will be one of the first things to change under Diaz-Canel, perhaps. It’ll be interesting to see what he decides to do to pick up the economy, so to speak, with the current funk that things appear to be in from many accounts.
But, alas…first world problems there on us travelers losing out on a few CUCs.
There’s the definite note that Raul will still chair the party until 2022 or something like that, so Diaz-Canel will likely be leading while also being led himself. So that’s where the “new boss/old boss” thought and comment popped into my head. But, he definitely is of a different leadership ilk and generation than the Castro brothers, so I do hope for more positivity for Cubans with this. Fingers (and toes) crossed.