Lisduania Victorero Reinoso

HAVANA TIMES — Here in Cuba, each family has a ration card with which members can go to a state-run neighborhood store to buy limited amounts of deeply subsidized food for the month. Most of those products are sufficient for only about 15 days, though others are only enough for a single day.

Among these latter items is fish. Years ago we used to be able to buy hake and mackerel. Hake has now disappeared (I don’t know what happened to it), and currently mackerel seems to be going the same route.

There are also state fish shops where the sales are unsubsidized and where they sell good fish like sawfish, marlin, snapper and others, but it costs almost a week’s wage to eat just one of them. I buy these when I can, but many people can’t afford to.

I don’t understand how a country like this, surrounded by the sea, has no fish.

Years ago are they started selling chicken as a substitute for the rationed fish. It got to where we felt like we were about to start growing feathers because they replaced everything with chicken – even mortadella sausage.

Only people on special diets could buy fish on their ration cards, meaning those who weren’t couldn’t. I imagine people’s phosphorous levels don’t even show up on the charts.

I like good fish, just like everybody else, but I love the strong flavor of mackerel. I don’t care if I’m told I have bad taste, everyone has their own likes.

Anyway, I wonder what’s happening to that fish, I can’t imagine that it’s being exported. Who would choose it when they have so many better alternatives? Or is that species becoming extinct?

You aren’t going to believe me if I tell you what some people are willing to do to get on the diet list so they can eat fish once a month.

I’ve learned that some people will eat a lot of pork rinds the day before getting their cholesterol checked by a doctor. This results in altered test findings that allow the person to be put on a fish diet.

Reflecting on this carefully, I should do the same thing. That way I could kill my desire to eat fish by eating fish.


Lisduania Victorero Reinoso: I’m 35 and live somewhere in the city of Havana. I am a middle-level graduate in economics and am self employed, preparing and selling food items. I am also a photography aficionada. I have never put myself to writing not even a kids diary, but I will try here in the most sincere and clear manner possible, always with a personal touch. I’m looking forward to your comments.

11 thoughts on “Chicken for Fish on the Cuban Ration Book

  • Thanks for your story. I will use it in my lesson about communism. You will get credit.

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