HAVANA TIMES — Cuba has run out of paper to print the ration books for 2022. There are “delays in the import of raw material for printing,” reported a publication from the Ministry of Internal Trade. As a result, the “preparation and distribution” of the document, which is required for consumers to be able to buy their subsidized rations, is delayed.
Until the new ration books are issued, the brief statement reads, in the western and central provinces the 2021 booklets will be used. And to avoid confusion, “the products purchased will be crossed out” before making the annotations of the products in “the lines available in the sheets for January and February” of 2022.
The number 22 will be specified “in the annotations, to signify the year to which they correspond, then the product, the quantity to be delivered and the date of purchase.” New ration books should be available “no later than January 30, 2022.”
In the absence of more precise details, Roberto wondered: “In the case of milk and bread, how will it be recorded? If that is daily and the corresponding boxes are full?”
The information was repeated last Friday on the Facebook wall of the Government of the Camagüey province, where users showed their annoyance. “How things are and how they look for the future, I think that with the space left over from 2021, they can use the same booklet until 2025 and thus save imported paper. What a pillar of a knightly system,” said Ulises González.
“If there isn’t even enough money for the thin notebook,” lamented Yurito Mestre lamented, “what awaits the supplies?” Meanwhile, Gloria María, stated: “For what they give, it would be better if they did away with it.”
“There is no paper for the ration cards, but is there money to import high-end cars?” commented Yoaen, originally from Sancti Spíritus.
There were also reactions from the province of Artemisa, where the measure was also made known. “God, we don’t have any paper for the ration book,” wrote Elisabet Veloz. “Something as simple as that, what does that say about food for 2022.”
Implemented in 1962, the rationed market has marked the lives of several generations of Cubans. Although over the years the variety and quantity of the products offered has been decreasing significantly, the State spends more than one billion pesos a year in subsidies for these foods that barely last a third of the month.
During the public debates on the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines promoted by the Communist Party, in 2010 and 2011, the possible elimination of the ration book was the issue that provoked the most comments and fears in the population. Then, its end seemed imminent, but the economic crisis and the pandemic reinforced its presence.
The booklet became essential to make purchases, even in the unrationed stores and now it is mandatory to present the booklet to buy products such as frozen chicken, vegetable oil and other basic foods in the markets in Cuban pesos that operate in parallel to the rationed market.