Selling Clothes to Survive

Osmel Almaguer

Tennis shoes in a hard currency store. Photo: Caridad

Alfredo sells tennis shoes, socks, shorts and T-shirts, all at pretty high prices.  Sure, their name brand goods, to be specific they’re all by Adidas.

He’s not a reseller, nor is he a middleman for those for those who have found themselves without vendor licenses and have to stand outside store exits trying to hawk their black market merchandise.

The things Alfredo sells weren’t sent them to him by any uncle in Spain.  And he doesn’t have a sister breaking her back in the United States.  Nor is he a store manager or a grocer who’s able to sell what they steal from the warehouse.

Although it seems unlikely, the things Alfredo sells are the fruit of his effort as a contender for the Cuban national swimming team.

He says that he doesn’t sell the goods out of any particular ambition.  He only admits that he’s young and needs money to go out with his girlfriend, in addition to keeping up the house.

Alfredo is not a great swimmer.  The Cuban team hardly ever wins medals in any major competitions.  They’re amateurs and they defend the ideal of pure sports, without the vices of professionalism, which is why neither Alfredo nor his teammates have any money.

That’s why not only them, but also athletes in other sports sell the gear assigned to them for training.

At first sight it might seem like a small-minded act; in fact I don’t doubt that some of our sports officials have in fact earned some extra money like this.  But the problem is more complex.

This society moves without money, or those in power want to move it only on the basis of ideals.  When someone thinks they can blot out the sun with their finger, people do what they can to take care of themselves – and these kinds of things happen.


Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

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One thought on “Selling Clothes to Survive

  • A great final paragraph, summing up the essence of your article!

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