The Cuban Peso (CUP) has an exchange rate of 0.93 against 1 USD. It is one of the two official currencies of the country, the other being the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). The symbol for the Cuban Peso is $MN which stands for ‘moneda nacional’ in Spanish, meaning the national peso, while the convertible peso might as well be called ‘chavito’. Basically, 1CUP is equivalent to 1CUC, but items bought with national pesos have controlled prices.
It was in 1857 when the Banco Español dela Habana (Spanish Bank of Havana) introduced peso notes in the 50, 100, 300, 500 and 1000 denominations. Ten years later, the 25 peso notes were introduced to the people of Cuba. The 5 and 10 peso notes followed the introduction shortly after 2 years. When the Ten Years’ War broke out, notes issued were in denominations of 50 cents, 1, 5, 10, 50, 500 and 1000.
In 1872, the Spanish Bank issued 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavo coins, and 1 and 3 Cuban peso notes. It was 1896 when the Banco Español dela Habana changed its name to Banco Español de la Isla de Cuba and issued notes in 5 and 50 cents, and 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 pesos. This was shortly followed by the introduction of the 10 and 20 centavos in 1897.
From 1993 to 2004, the Cuban currency consisted of the Cuban peso and the U.S. dollar. As retaliation against the U.S. sanctions, the government of Cuba withdrew the U.S. dollar from its national currencies. As of today, only shops selling basic items and merchandise generally accept the national peso.
• 1 peso – Color: Green; Front: Jose Marti; Back: Fidel Castro with rebel soldiers in 1959
• 3 pesos – Color: Red; Front: Ernesto “Che” Guevarra; Back: Ernesto Guevarra
• 5 pesos – Color: Green; Front: Antonio Maceo; Back: Conference between A. Maceo and Spanish General A. Martinez Campos
• 10 pesos – Color: Brown; Front: Maximo Gomez; Back: Guerra de todo el pueblo
• 20 pesos – Color: Blue; Front: Camilo Cienfuegos; Back: Agricultural scenes
• 50 pesos – Color: Violet; Front: Calixto García Íñiguez; Back: Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
• 100 pesos – Color: Brown-red; Front: Carlos Manuel de Cespedes; Back: Statue of Jose Marti