Talking Prices in Cuba, Who is the Greatest Abuser?

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

One of the new stores in Cuba with products in US Dollars only.

HAVANA TIMES – I haven’t been watching Cuban TV for a while. Exceptions being the weather forecast on the Noticiero Nacional, the comedy show Vivir del cuento or an interesting documentary broadcast on Multivision.

Recently, for the sake of turning on Multivision, my TV opened up on the Hacemos Cuba show, a program which I hate, quite frankly, because of the way it manipulates facts and the avalanche of lies that it normally shows. However, they were talking about an issue that caught my attention, which is quite old but still relevant today: Resellers.

This time, the usual host was accompanied by a journalist. During the short time I was able to stand being in front of the TV, they showed a text conversation between two people.

One pretended to be a reseller. They were promoting their products, including tubes of Perla toothpaste for 5 CUC, the equivalent of 125 CUP, which is really expensive. After displaying an interest in the merchandise, the other person refused to buy anything saying that it was too expensive for them, to which the reseller justified himself by saying that they themselves had to pay a lot for it and that if there were sufficient supplies in stock then nobody would have to go to private sellers like him, that it wasn’t his fault.

This was followed by the program’s hosts attacking him and every other hoarder, who they accused of not having any ethical values such as solidarity, dignity and humanity.

They also talked about police operations that have been carried out against these low-lifes, and the need for greater punishment against speculators.

Without exonerating these people who are the result of need and poverty, it has become clear to me that these statements are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the abuse and helplessness that our people suffer when in comes to prices and basic essentials. These resellers are just a consequence.

The program only touched upon the surface of the issue. Its hosts can’t dig a little further, they have been banned from reaching the source of the problem.

Many questions have been left unanswered, or better yet, many realities are still not being reported.

How can you explain new well-stocked stores selling in US dollars appearing overnight, amidst severe shortages, which was justified before by the Covid-19 pandemic and Trump coming down harder with the “blockade”?

How can you justify donations being sent from abroad then being resold by the State for 10 times the price of the transport costs?

Why is it that in any retail store in the country – be that in USD, CUC or CUP – a backpack, pair of pants or shoes (just to give you three examples) costs a worker’s monthly wages or isn’t even enough to buy one of them?

Who is the first one to impose abusive prices on the population? Who is the greatest abuser?


Pedro Morejón

I am a man who fights for his goals, who assumes the consequences of his actions, who does not stop at obstacles. I could say that adversity has always been an inseparable companion, I have never had anything easy, but in some sense, it has benefited my character. I value what is in disuse, such as honesty, justice, honor. For a long time, I was tied to ideas and false paradigms that suffocated me, but little by little I managed to free myself and grow by myself. Today I am the one who dictates my morale, and I defend my freedom against wind and tide. I also build that freedom by writing, because being a writer defines me.

4 thoughts on “Talking Prices in Cuba, Who is the Greatest Abuser?

  • In response to the Cass Dean comment: Generally, food manufacturers limit production to match the sell-off of their food products to occur PRIOR to the product’s sell-by date. It’s a basic supply and demand estimation. However obviously at times more food product is produced than can be sold before the sell-by date. In those cases, where the health risks to the consumer is minimal, I would agree that the unsold food products should be DONATED to people/organizations that can effect the immediate consumption of the food. What I witnessed in Cuba was expired powdered milk being SOLD to Cuba and then the Cuban government subsequently selling the milk to Cubans…at higher than normal prices! Even Stevie Wonder should see a problem with that.

  • Whatever did people do before there were sell-by dates?

    Sell-by dates are a guarantee of the safety of an uninspected product. Without it, you have to inspect it yourself. Take a sniff. Does it smell off to you?

    To spare you that, Venezuelans should destroy perfectly good food rather than give it to you?

    Sell-by dates in the large picture do make a contribution to public health. This is most evident in the field of medicines. But medicine past its sell-by date is regularly donated to countries where it is needed. It’s fine.

    The sell-by date is a worst-case scenario and the waste is not greater than the cost of item by item inspection all along the supply line. No reason not to minimize the waste by providing goods otherwise not available at all at the cost of a little time and attention to evaluate actual, rather than speculative, condition.

  • “THE Man Sticking IT To The People Corruption Killing A Nation, No Not In Cuba. When Will They Share Together, First Steps Creating your New Nation & Stick it To The Man. Why these Street Vendors are Not Stripped of there Goods & Put a Stop to the Rip off Street Sales. Oh Yes Many Need air time for there Cells & Face Book Swindles. Just where The Man Wants you Cuba.

  • I remember seeing a plastic bag of powdered milk on the shelf in the grocery store on the first floor of the Carlos III shopping mall in Havana. The 1 kg bag was from Venezuela. In fact the back side of the bag had a sticker on it with the Venezuelan flag and words that said something to the effect of “…in brotherhood and solidarity…blah, blah, blah… Here’s the punchline: The SELL-BY date had already expired a few months earlier. With brothers like that.
    ….

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