HAVANA, August 20. /ITAR-TASS/. The Central Bank of Cuba is to issue banknotes of a new pattern with an enhanced degree of protection against forgery, the newspaper Granma reported on Tuesday.
The new banknotes with denominations of 100, 50, and 20 non-convertible Cuban peso will bear, in place of the watermark, a representation of Cuban national heroes Carlos Manuel de Cespedes del Castillo, Calixto Garcia, and Camilo Cienfuegos. A watermark indicating denomination of the banknote will be placed to the left of the representation.
Banknotes of other denominations will still carry a watermark with a representation of Cuban revolutionary Celia Sanchez and a banknote denomination to the right of her representation.
The old pattern money will remain in circulation as a legal tender.
Banknotes with enhanced elements of protection come into being in the light of expectation of two currencies' merger promised by the authorities. Convertible and non-convertible pesos are in official circulation on the island (the ratio of the former to the latter is about 1 to 25).
Within the framework of the monetary reform, the authorities intend to eliminate the convertible peso which is actually equated to the US dollar and leave national peso intact. However, the authorities have not announced up to now either a timeframe for implementing the reform or an exchange rate of the national currency following the abolition of the convertible peso.
Since the end of 2004, the convertible peso has been the only monetary unit which is accepted in Cuba in cash payments for services and purchases in the "dollar" shops. This happened after Fidel Castro announced the termination of the free circulation of the US currency on the island.
Renunciation of the double-currency system, which is officially reckoned as "one of the main obstacles to the country's development", will be among the large-scale reforms being implemented by the Raul Castro government.