Rice & Sardine Donations to the Rescue in Santiago de Cuba

Cuban Government delivers packages of food donated from “solidarity” countries amid the shortage of products. Photo: Granma

The distribution will begin in the José Martí District, one of the most vulnerable areas of the eastern Cuban city.

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES -On Tuesday in Santiago de Cuba a shipment of 30,000 food packages arrived, which the authorities plan to allocate to the most vulnerable families in the province. The local press pointed out that the packages were made with “donations from solidarity countries,” but did not say which ones.

The distribution will begin in the José Martí District, a neighborhood of the provincial capital that presents one of the most serious situations in terms of food, in addition to numerous squatters. Then supplies will be sent to the main municipalities and other emergency areas, according to the merchandise director of the Internal Trade Business Group, Leonardo Lamela.

Each package consists of two kilos of rice, legumes, spaghetti and elbow pasta, as well as two cans of sardines, Lamela said in an interview with the Cuban News Agency (ACN). The social workers of each popular council will make a list of the possible beneficiaries and, through the warehouses, will deliver the packages.

The authorities will give priority, he said, to the most precarious cases they have registered: 1,938 pregnant women, 22,301 disabled or in need of some type of assistance and 1,154 children with low weight. Bárbara Rodríguez, mother of a child with a disability, celebrated the “gratification” represented by the packages, which arrived at a time of maximum crisis in which the indispensable food to support her child has reached prohibitive prices.

However, Rodríguez reminded the press that the packages “do not meet all the needs of a household,” although “they do alleviate the monetary burden in terms of family support.”

With the news that, as of May, Cubans over the age of 13 will no longer receive rationed chicken, the situation became even more precarious. Other foods, such as eggs and oil, have been on the “disappeared” list for months.

Many Cuban families have crossed the threshold of poverty and food insecurity. Last April, the World Food Program put numbers on the crisis: Cubans between the ages of 14 and 60 only cover 36% of energy intake, 24% of the daily protein ration and 18% of fats.

In an extensive report of the Global Network against Food Crises, published this Wednesday in collaboration with several United Nations agencies, a small section is dedicated to Cuba, which lists the problems faced by the Island since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In 2022, the capacity to import critical foods and basic fuel products continued to be limited by high international prices, which reduced the supply and availability of agricultural inputs,” the report says.

It also notes that the Island has not yet been able to make up for the losses caused by the passage of Hurricane Ian in September 2022, which affected the province of Pinar del Río with losses in crops and infrastructure.

However, the maximum responsibility continues to lie with the poor economic management of the Government, which has systematically neglected its food strategy and decreased imports. Meanwhile, domestic production is still not able to alleviate the deficit that, for years, has plagued a country in which short-term solutions are no longer effective.

Translated by Regina Anavy for Translating Cuba


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3 thoughts on “Rice & Sardine Donations to the Rescue in Santiago de Cuba

  • May 8, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    Perhaps Stephen Webster could adjust his estimate of 70% of the homeless in Canada having a better life than the average Cuban, to a more accurate 93%?

    Only 7% of Cubans being members of the Communist Party of Cuba.

  • May 8, 2023 at 4:17 am

    The people of cuba have little choice. Those who helped organize the last demonstrations often got 10 to 20 years in jail and anything they owned taken by the gov. I hear many people cannot afford even basic foods or medicine now unless they get $ from abroad which getting very hard to get to Cuba now. The homeless with jobs like myself in ontario canada live much better than 70% of the people in cuba today
    Cuba needs to invite and work with farmers from holland to fix the food problems. Also to allow coop manufacturing and setup huge free trade manufacturing and distributuon zones.

  • May 4, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    The Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez regime under the ever-watchful eye of Raul Castro Ruz, reeks of incompetence. It, it appears, is incapable of analysis, assessment and action. Whilst verbally suffering from diarrhea, physically it suffers from constipation.

    Perhaps when the history of the Communist Party of Cuba is recorded in a museum, one of the prominent dusty artifacts will be the Diaz-Canel begging bowl. Well travelled and with initially some affects, it has now ceased to bring rewards. It appears that China, Russia, Vietnam, North Korea and even Venezuela have revised the cost/benefits of donations and are reducing their benevolence or ceasing it altogether.

    That is rapidly increasing the predicament of the people of Cuba. The remaining question is whether they will summon up the courage to repeat the demonstrations of July 11, 2021, nationwide and with frequency, or accept creeping starvation in abject poverty?

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