Why is local Cuban currency separated from the tourist currency?
When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 90’s, Cuba overnight lost 90% of its export market, due to the US trade embargo. The Cuban peso, whilst being one of the world’s most stable currencies (ie, is every bit as worthless now as it was then) was instantly devalued, and the whole economy went into meltdown. Castro isn’t necessarily the demon he’s portrayed to be, and is nothing if not a shrewd operator. He legalized the use of US dollars, which A) instantly provided a flow of legal,stable and most importantly valuable currency into Cuba, and B) annoyed the hell out of the US overnment. So now tourists pay in US dollars, whilst locals pay,and are paid in, pesos. There are also Convertible Pesos, which are the equivalent of 1 dollar, but again only tourists ever use these. There are upsides and downsides to this arrangement. Much of the income in hard currency is invested in the Cuban healthcare system, meaning that Cuba has a better health system than many other Western countries,