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    Cubans find wide backing for a single currency

    Cubans find wide backing for a single currency

    Released : Friday, January 25, 2008 4:33 PM

    Havana, Jan 25 (EFE).- An opposition group representing residents of
    Cuba's rural areas said Friday that they have wide backing for their
    campaign to end the use of two parallel currencies on the
    communist-ruled island.

    The head of the group known as Flamur, Maura Iset Gonzalez Jurquet, told
    reporters Friday that the organization took a survey of 7,825 people
    nationwide and found that 99 percent "want a single currency in Cuba."

    "If you don't have CUC (Cuban convertible peso), you can't buy basic
    necessities like soap, cooking oil and other things. What we're asking
    is that Cubans should be able to go into any establishment in this
    country with what they're paid and buy what they need without it
    mattering whether they have Cuban pesos or CUC," she said.

    Cuba currently uses both the ordinary peso, worth less than 4 cents, and
    the CUC, which is equivalent to $1.08. Salaries are paid in ordinary pesos.

    Flamur members recall that last Nov. 21 they delivered to parliament
    10,800 signatures on petitions demanding a single currency.

    "We're against the double currency that represents economic and
    touristic apartheid, and that's why we launched this campaign that has
    had good results as far as the people are concerned – they show interest
    and see us as kind of hope," survey organizer Katia Martin Veliz said.

    "We keep waiting for their (parliament's) response, but meanwhile we've
    gone on to a second phase, taking a survey by people's age, sex, race
    and educational level that has won 95 percent approval," she said.

    Among the matters the Cuban government has pending is a solution to the
    currency problem.

    Acting president Raul Castro told parliament last month that "complex
    matters, such as the existence of two currencies and distortions in the
    systems of salaries and prices require in-depth study and will be
    carried out with the moderation, rigor and responsibility they deserve."

    According to Cuban law, citizens can present legislative proposals
    before the legislature if they have at least 10,000 signatures.

    Cuban families are forced to turn to the black market to supply their
    basic needs on a median monthly wage of just 387 pesos (about $18), the
    government's ONE statistics office said last year.

    Raul Castro acknowledged in July that the average wage "is clearly
    insufficient to meet all the needs, so that it has practically ceased to
    fulfill the socialist principle that each contribute according to his
    abilities and receive according to his needs."

    The problem is aggravated, according to Cuban experts, by the use of two
    currencies on the island.

    Raul, 76, has been in charge since July 31, 2006, when older brother
    Fidel Castro "provisionally" handed over power due to a serious
    gastrointestinal illness. EFE

    rmo/cd

    HAB01 – LA HABANA (CUBA), 25/01/08 .- Maura Iset González (i) y Katia
    Sonia Martín Véliz (d), presidenta y promotora, respectivamente, del
    ejecutivo de la disidente Federación Latinoamericana de Mujeres Rurales
    (FLAMUR) hablan hoy, 25 de enero de 2008, en una rueda de prensa, en La
    Habana (Cuba), para divulgar los resultados de una encuesta de opinión
    nacional sobre su campaña denominada "Con la misma moneda", con la que
    han demandado ante el Parlamento la circulación de una moneda única en
    el país. EFE/Alejandro Ernesto

    Copyright 2008 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.

    Provider:
    EFE News Service / BAS / EFE Ingles
    Keywords:
    Americas, Caribbean, Latin America, Cuba

    http://www.macroworldinvestor.com/m/m.w?lp=GetStory&id=290165731

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