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Cuba Devalues Peso by 8 Percent

In an effort to increase tourism and boost the country’s struggling economy, Cuba devalued the Cuban convertible peso by 8 percent last week to match the U.S. dollar. Cuban President Raul Castro hopes that this will not only encourage tourism to and from Cuba, but also increase private investment. It also makes it so that remittances sent from overseas will be worth more money in pesos.

The devalued currency will make imported products, which are sometimes priced in dollars or other hard currency, more expensive for Cubans. Cuban officials hope this will encourage an increase in local production, which would theoretically mean that the country would have more materials to export.

This, along with the other steps the country has taken, poses an obvious question—when is the embargo going to end? It seems like every time the country takes a step forward in human rights or economic sensibility, we just keep moving the goalposts back. It’s also probably worth mentioning that according to the CIA World Factbook, almost 7 percent of Cuba’s imported goods come from the U.S. So we can make money off of them, but not the other way around? Seems a tad hypocritical to me.

The United Nations has condemned the embargo every year since 1992 (that’s 19 times), generally by very wide margins. In the most recent vote, which took place in October of last year, 187 out of the 192 countries in the U.N. voted against the embargo. Three small countries—the Marshall Islands, Palau and Micronesia—abstained, leaving only the U.S. and Israel in favor of the embargo. We can only hope that by September 14 of this year, the date that the embargo is set to expire, our government doesn’t decide to extend it again.