Miguel Arias Sanchez
HAVANA TIMES – A long time before we learned that Trump would lift the waiver on Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, you could already sense that things were going to get worse; it was in the air, and people’s comments only confirmed this. There is even talk about another Special Period, about blackouts for hours on end… in short, everyone adds their own speculation, based on their personal experiences in previous years.
At the celebrations ceremony to commemorate the Bay of Pigs victory, General Raul Castro explained that the situation in the upcoming months would be tough and that we would have to be ready to face hardship.
However, we already knew it. Products had already begun to go missing on hard-currency stores (TRDs) shelves for a while now, such as chicken, cooking oil, sausages, etc. and eggs, liquid detergent and other items were missing on the national currency market too.
This is where we are beginning to see people buying these and other items in hordes again, just like they did in the 1990s, with arguments in line, brawls breaking out and even shopping mall windows being broken, the police having to intervene.
However, this isn’t only happening in Cuba; it is happening in Venezuela and we’ve seen it happen in other countries, during times of war too, throughout the course of human History.
It’s a natural instinct for people to run out and get as much of something as they can when they feel that it might disappear. This creates peace of mind.
Plus, there are always people who take advantage of shortages to hoard and resell what they have bought for two or three times the original price; without caring if the future customer is a pensioner or a student who doesn’t have this kind of money to pay exorbitant prices. A tray of eggs has cost up to 7 CUC (=USD); which is extremely expensive for your ordinary Cuban worker who barely makes 20 USD a month.
And, this isn’t a question of politicking, of capitalism or socialism, but about how it is for us regular citizens who suffer the consequences of decisions made by those who are in power.