Alfredo Fernandez

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 29 — A few days ago I was taken aback when a Spanish friend asked me: “How is it possible that the Cuban government  — which for more than five decades has loudly proclaimed itself to be a defender of just causes around the world — allows a multinational like Nestlé onto the island?”

It’s now the leading multinational dairy product provider in the country, selling ice cream in the network of stores that conduct business in hard currency.

Faced with that question, I went to the Internet and made a brief search on Google, where I came up with an extensive record of information about this leading ice cream seller in Cuba.

I was left speechless when I found out that what had been for me a “reputable company” has made its fortune through either massive layoffs, the cutting down of huge tracts of forest around the world and the “suffocation” of small milk producers and farmers in continents such as the Americas and Asia.

I was unaware of that situation up until that moment thanks to my bad relationship with the Internet and a national press that only addresses issues “previously authorized,” preventing us from knowing the truth about Nestlé all this time.

Who authorized the entry of such a transnational corporation in Cuba? Why did our authorities ignore the fact that around the world “consumers are increasingly looking for brands and companies that they consider have a genuine concern for social and environmental issues,” according to the Sustainable Marketing Guide?

Though I don’t have any proof, I suspect the clincher must have been the payoffs made by Nestlé to Cuban bureaucrats to grant the corporation the rare privilege of selling ice cream in hard currency in a country with next to no competition.

Though one swallow doesn’t make a summer, I promised my Spanish friend — and especially myself — never to buy or consume a product from such an inhuman transnational. I’ll do anything I can so that Nestlé goes broke in Cuba.


7 thoughts on “Cuba Should Live Without Nestle

  • Nestle is also behind Ciego Montero mineral water and soft drinks. They also are bottling Canadian water for next to nothing and selling it at huge markups. Their chairman recently stated that water is not a human right.

  • Thanks to Alfredo for writing this and for Havana Times for publishing it as this is an issue VERY close to my heart. There are a number of companies I find unworthy of my money. Nestlé is right on top of that list. Nestlé is one of the greatest enemies of workers and undermines trade unions wherever they can.
    http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?
    The IUF (International Union of Food Workers) http://www.iuf.org/ is taking on Nestlé globally. Nestlé European Unions Demand Halt to Trade Union Rights Violations at Nescafé Indonesia
    Go to http://www.nestlewatch.org/
    The other issue is the death of Third World children due to the unscrupulous marketing of baby milk substitutes. See
    http://www.babymilkaction.org/pages/endorsers.html on the Nestlé boycott
    After my first trip to Cuba and feeling flabbergasted by the effective monopoly that Nestlé has in Cuban hard currency stores I contacted the Baby Milk Action group about it. Their response was to contact the Cuban embassy myself. They had no intention of questioning or exposing the Cuban government. To me this shows the reluctance of so many on the Left to take on the Cuban government who time and again have proven to put their own survival above that of humanity. Not so long ago a lady from the USA commented that we should leave Cuba alone as it has never hurt anyone. Wrong, by jumping into bed with Nestlé, Cuba meaning the Cuban government is seriously hurting and killing innocent people.
    My own trade union, the Public and Commercial Services Union, of which I am a members trustee, is affiliated to the Baby Milk Campaign, but also to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC), which I strongly oppose. The CSC keeps quiet about the Cuban government’s collaboration with Nestlé. Many Cuba government solidarity activists oppose Bacardi, but when asked about Nestlé get suddenly very silent abdicating personal responsibility.
    Alfredo maybe right about the Cuban bureaucrats making money from deals with Nestlé. However, does anyone seriously believe that any multinational could operate in Cuba against the explicit wishes of the Castro brothers? I do not presume for one moment that they are as ignorant on Nestlé as they keep their fellow Cubans.
    To me the Nestlé issue is a key area why I could never believe in the claim of Cuban government solidarity worldwide. I might as well believe that pigs can fly.

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