By Safie M. González
HAVANA TIMES – When the pandemic hit Cuba in early 2020, stores gradually closed down, which were selling in CUC and CUP pesos at the time. The time came when most of these stores were left empty, only those big stores taking precedence, which then began selling in MLC (so as not to say USD).
Cuba has always been a country of lines, which have gotten a lot worse in the past two years, where there have been restrictions, shortages and missing items, a lot of basic essentials that any human needs have been missing.
However, if you need something, anything, you can search for it and find it on Facebook, the social media network that has helped many people in recent times to sell their clothes, shoes, glasses, and all kinds of goods, including medicine. That said, don’t expect to find anything relatively cheap, as prices are through the roof.
Many items are even sold in MLC or their equivalent in national currency. Where is this merchandise coming from? There’s no doubt that clothes and shoes are entering the country thanks to the people who travel, and it makes perfect sense that the reselling price is so high because they have to pay a great deal for their plane ticket in foreign currency, and also to stay in an isolation center, which is not at all cheap. So, they have to make this money back somehow.
It’s a business that has benefitted a percentage of the population, because there aren’t many options for people who need these items, unfortunately.
Food and personal hygiene items are resold by people who buy them in MLC stores, for a price equivalent to the dollar (that ranges between 65-70 pesos per USD).
We have no other choice unfortunately, except for those who receive remittances or have family who have managed to find a way to send them clothes, shoes and other basic essentials.
We continue to go around in circles without finding a clear solution for our basic needs, which we have simplified to chicken, detergent and cooking oil, and we can’t, because we also need clothes, shoes, flip flops, towels and toothbrushes… but where can we find them?