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In Cuba, A Peso Isn’t Always A Peso

As President Obama pays the first visit to Cuba by a U.S. president in 88 years, the Cuban people are experiencing a mix of excitement and trepidation at what renewed relations will mean. After decades of relative economic isolation, Cuba is opening to more investment and trade, including from the U.S. As political and business leaders look at the big picture, we spoke with young Cubans trying to figure out how to make a living — something complicated by the nation’s unusual two currency system.

A note on the currencies and amounts described in the video: Like the U.S. dollar, the symbol for both Cuban currencies is $, but don’t let that confuse you. The symbols may be the same, but the values are very different. For example, someone earning $500 per month in Cuban pesos is making only about $20 a month in U.S. dollars.

Video editing by Tony Chow.

Farai Chideya is a former senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

Christine Laskowski is a video producer for FiveThirtyEight.