It was the first years of the nineties, and in Peace Time Cuba joined the so-called Special Period Cuban officials, particularly Fidel Castro, declared that priority will be given to investments in some strategic sectors, like tourism and biotechnology, to survive and get out of the crisis.
But both needed substantial investment and would hinder profit-making. It was necessary to seek a way to attract foreign currencies quicker. And that's when, in 1993, the decriminalizing of foreign currency ownership and the population's permission to purchase the requisite items in foreign currency stores that were already unavailable in the national currency (CUP) shop loop emerged. It was clarified that there were several citizens with foreign currency and that it was legalizing what was already a fact. But neither was a secret to raising foreign currency out of family remittances.
At the very same moment, the Exchange Houses, known as CADECAs, were specifically set up so that a section of society could exchange the foreign currencies it had been sent, acquire CUP, and thus fight the foreign currency black market. At that point, to make purchases in foreign currency markets, it was not necessary to trade them in the CADECAs for CUC. The dollar circulated freely in retail stores, and later in some tourist destinations even the euro. During that time, it was also authorized to open foreign currency accounts in Cuban banks.
There was a term in Cuba for the presence of foreign currency shops where only foreign visitors could purchase: shops in hotels known as Caracol stores, although there were many like Cubase. There were also tickets in those shops before the 1990s which made it easier to purchase them. We had different colors: brown ones, earned in Cuba by foreign students, or red ones, among others, for those allowed to be overseas for missions or study. In several banks, particularly at the International Financial Bank (BFI), foreign currency was exchanged for those bonds.
Tags : Peace Time Cuba, Fidel Castro, national currency, CADECAs, International Financial Bank,