About two months ago, walking the streets of Old Havana and Cerro, two municipalities of Havana, something interesting occurred.
There were openings of new and renovated stores that offered a considerable number of products for purchase in the regular national currency-not in our other stronger currency, the CUC (25 Cuban pesos = 1 CUC).
Over all these new stores was a sign with the initials M.A.I. Though I asked the workers there what this stood for, none of them had the faintest idea.
So these stores stay remain for me as wonderful yet strange, selling articles in national currency.
After entering several of them, I noticed that the products being sold there were previously only available in CUCs.
Here, products like soap, toothbrushes, glasses, buckets, belts, cloth, clothes and shoes are a little cheaper than in the hard currency stores.
It was remarkable to see these stores full of people with cheerful faces able to buy products at prices that did not completely break their budget.
These stores, with their medium quality but indispensable products, are truly becoming an answer for Cuban families that don’t have access to CUCs or dollars.
But included with their benefits is the realization that social differences exist today in Cuba. One sector of the population has access to good products in dollar stores, while the other one is limited to buying medium quality articles in these new stores.
Cuba, as a socialist country, must fight to prevent its division into social classes, which the existence of these two types of stores contributes to.
A solution could be to provide medium quality products at a price that allows everyone to buy the same products.