—A few days ago, after squeezing into a bus along with dozens of people that wanted to board it; I ran into an administrative worker at the university institute where I study.
He told me that he was an accountant (one of the branches of the economy that they study in Cuba), but he wasn’t planning to continue studying because he felt the idea of having to do a master’s thesis would be problematic.
That was how a conversation started about an idea that has been controversial for many years in Cuba: “bread”.
He said that he had worked for one of the companies that control the production of bread in the country and that this had led to him to arrive at some conclusions.
The government sells each Cuban citizen one bread roll a day for 5 cents of Cuban peso, but the cost of production is really up to 7 or 8 cents.
Thus, daily losses are in the thousands of pesos. With this in mind the young accountant had an idea that seemed very ingenious to me. He proposed to sell bread for 10 cents, and allow people to acquire two rolls.
The reasons for not mentioning the idea at work were very clear to him. He felt that to do an analysis about the production and price of bread in Cuba could be seen as interfering with a matter of government policy. Likewise, the idea would not be welcome by the bakers who, for their scarce numbers, already had enough difficulty with less production.
Our conversation ended with a phrase that for some time has been widely used in the country and that I have heard a great many times: He who lives better in Cuba is he who doesn’t involve himself in anything.
A phrase which could be easily substituted for: He who doesn’t want to have problems in Cuba is he who doesn’t try to suggest new ideas.
In the last few years bakeries have sprung up in the country that sell a bread roll for 1 peso (a price 20 times greater), and the sale per person is unlimited.
In a country like Cuba where the variety of food is scarce and prices are relatively high, it is practically obligatory to acquire bread at these higher priced stores at a price that doesn’t correspond at all with the monthly salary. The idea of this young man would not only decrease the state’s expenses but would also bring a solution to a national problem.