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Cuba scraps the use of US dollars

Cuba scraps the use of US dollars
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It has been part of everyday life in Cuba since 1993 but now it is set to disappear. Havana is banning commercial transactions in the US dollar from November 8 in response to tighter US sanctions. The greenback became legal tender here following an economic crisis sparked by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But yesterday President Fidel Castro appeared on TV to endorse the change, despite last week’s fall that left his left leg in a plaster cast. He told viewers: “The dollar will no longer circulate, in shops you’ll have to use the convertible peso, a stable currency. We will have the best conditions to ensure stability.”

Many Cubans depend on dollars for goods including some basic necessities. They will now be charged a 10 percent commission to change dollars.

In May, Washington tightened its embargo on Cuba, limiting how much money US-based Cubans could send back to relatives on the island. President Castro has now urged them to send money in other currencies, such as euros or British pounds.