By Safie M. Gonzalez
HAVANA TIMES – Every day, my elderly neighbor Margarita wakes up early and goes to the closest kiosk (retail point) to her house. Another neighbor, who is a little younger, saves her a place sometimes and normally gets a low number in the line, but why is Margarita waiting in line every day? Is she a reseller? Is she bored at home?
Neither is the case; she doesn’t resell, nor is she bored at home. The reality is that necessity and a lack of information, as the icing on the cake, force Margaria, and many other people in the neighborhood, to wait for a truck to come with merchandise, which normally arrives between 2-5 PM, and unloads a product, whatever it is.
This is the time that turns are handed out, whether it’s for the same day or the following one. Day in and day out, one after the other, Margarita’s final years are being spent in a line. Sometimes, her sick daughter goes and takes her place, so her mother can go home and have lunch, and then she returns to wait for this truck to come with chicken, hot dogs, cooking oil or detergent (beware, none of these products ever come in at the same time). These are normally the products that are often sold at these kiosks that are now regulated with the rations booklet.
That is to say, if Margarita bought chicken today, she won’t be able to buy it again until next month, and the same goes for all of the products I’ve mentioned above. Of course, there is also a limit for every household.
I’m always overcome with sadness when I hear stories like this one, that are close to me. Life today for a significant number of Cubans now boils down “to waiting in line”, but what about the people who have to work? Who are studying? How do they get what they need?
In any case, why isn’t the population informed of what is going to come in? This would at least lift a little of the burden in this precarious situation that has consumed our lives and is wearing us down.