By Esther Zoza
HAVANA TIMES – It’s 6000 pesos (50 USD) for you, flat, I hear a reseller say at the exit of the Carlos III Shopping Mall. I try to hide my surprise. I didn’t expect digital television adapters to cost this much on the illicit market. Weighed down by the impossibility of buying one, I guess I’ll have to go home and tell my family it won’t be easy.
Buying a decoder box has become an odyssey for residents, who find themselves needing to buy one. Cubans have got used to enjoying some relaxing time as a family in front of the TV, and now their rest and enjoyment is at risk.
The replacement of analog TVs in Cuba began in the mid-noughties, and like every project it suffered some setbacks, bearing in mind the fact we’re an underdeveloped country.
Now, a wave of nonconformity has begun to spread amongst the population. People have different opinions, but they all agree on one point, their unfortunate situation right now. A time of economic and social crises.
The truth is that most Cubans don’t have financial support to buy this product. The few resources they have go towards food and transport. It’s utopian to think that workers and pensioners can buy this useful object, that brings us closer to the first world, for 50 MLC or 6000 Cuban pesos. But how can we move closer to developed countries when not only exorbitant prices are standing in the way of us buying one?
For starters, sales weren’t reorganized to more affordable places such as the ration stores near people’s homes. Even if they wanted to sell them everywhere, they should have controlled sales with the ration booklet. Poor management of shopping malls and the indiscipline of sales assistants have made illegal transactions spread like wildfire.
The implementation of this project, as well as purchasing the right device for Cuban TVs, will only make differences between the population starker, leaving us again with the bittersweet taste of inequality.