Jimmy Roque Martinez
HAVANA TIMES – Luckily, we still have a ration booklet in Cuba. In addition to a monthly quota of rice, sugar, grains and a tiny allotment of meat products, every person gets one bread roll a day.
Until some time ago, I thought everyone got the same bread. Then I discovered that I was wrong: the quality of the bread one gets depends on where one lives. This is not officially established, of course, but it happens this way in practice.
It is established that every bun weigh a minimum of 80 grams, but the ones my family get in Marianao, at the Las Americas bakery, are excessively small units whose weight oscillates between 45 and 60 grams. What’s more, the bread is often sour (tasting awful the next day), not soft and not quite white.
By contrast, the bread given people as part of food quotas in Vedado is large, white, soft and tasty. It weighs 80 grams and preserves these characteristics the day after.
It is clear to me that the traditionally underpriviliged areas in Havana (including Marianao) are also the most neglected today.
How is it possible that the neighborhood representative does nothing about this, that the State inspectors responsible for verifying the quality of the bread do not see the problem? What bread is the chair of the municipal government eating? What are citizens doing to demand the little they are entitled to?
Many active or former government officials (and military officers) live in Vedado. They make up the “middle class” that is slowly emerging in Cuba. And it is becoming increasingly clear that this sector has “more rights” than those who live in underprivileged neighborhoods.
Could this be what the authorities mean when they speak of putting an end to egalitarian policies? One ration booklet but different kinds of bread?
Making quality bread rolls shouldn’t be hard, particularly when we recall that bread is one of the basic food products that make up the diet of Cubans, especially that of children.
It is the responsibility of consumers to demand that the products and services they receive have the required quality. After all, they aren’t gifts, they are rights.