Experimental Wholesale Market Closed in Havana

By Cafe Fuerte

El Trigal formó parte del experimento referido a la comercializaciòn de productos agropecuarios en la capital.
El Trigal formó parte del experimento referido a la comercializaciòn de productos agropecuarios en la capital.

HAVANA TIMES — The El Trigal wholesale market for farm products, located in the outlying Havana municipality of Boyeros, will be closed as of Friday due to “irregularities”, announced government authorities.

In a report by the National Television News, Luis Carlos Gongora Dominguez, Vice President of the Havana provincial government, informed of the decision to temporarily halt marketing of agricultural products and dissolve the cooperative that managed the market due to “a series of irregularities.”

The move shuts down an important supply source to the population of the capital, particularly the retail markets, other sales outlets and self-employed street vendors, the main buyers at El Trigal.

In addition, its closure marks the failure of an initiative that bore fruit for three years in the provinces of Havana, Artemisa and Mayabeque as “a new form of marketing farm products.” El Trigal was the first wholesale market of such products in the country.

List of illegalities

The official attributed the decision to crimes of corruption and other illegalities that have occurred, and the inability to ensure that the products reach the population at lower prices.

El Trigal opened on December 18, 2013 as a wholesale market geared to lower food prices and deal a blow to private intermediaries. However it quickly became a place of illicit activities and the corrupting of their staff.

Gongora did not mention whether the market operators will be subject to administrative measures or will be prosecuted in the courts.

The closure of El Trigal is part of a government crackdown on the marketing of agricultural products at high prices and the detour of the foodstuffs to the black market, outside state control. Government actions in this direction started last year and were echoed in the recently concluded Seventh Congress of the Communist Party, which led to the setting of price ceilings on farm products at local markets.

8 thoughts on “Experimental Wholesale Market Closed in Havana

  • Why do you expect that to have been the case? The article certainly made no mention of that. Care to explain? Or are you just making stuff up again?

  • I expect the reason the market was closed was due to leakage – farm – transport – at market.

  • bjmack, the Castro communist regime is all about two things, POWER and CONTROL. The regime does not want Cubans to prosper because as long as they are striving to exist, they can be controlled. Whereas no price rises are permitted for the poor Cubans producing fresh foods, the same does not apply to the GAESA (military) owned retail shops. There was no discussion at the recent 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba about how to improve the living standards of the people of Cuba.
    One can anticipate regime supporters squealing that a few prices have recently been reduced. Those reductions apply to products imported from countries whose currencies have recently fallen against the US dollar. In reality the regime has not reduced its revenues at all.
    Free enterprise like freedom of speech, freedom of the media and freedom of elections – virtually freedom of anything, is anathema to the Castros.

  • Good source of info Carlyle. It does appear that the major cities have more access than the hinterland but that will change with time. I’m a free enterprise person so very frustrating seeing what’s been happening with the various markets in Cuba etc.

  • Anyone familiar with Prof. Lindu Zhao’s (Southeast University China) work on cybernetic logistics for food distribution?

  • bjmack, the main ‘new’ change in Cuba has been the introduction of cell ‘phones. Although there is apparently a small degree of access to the Internet in Havana and tourist resorts at a very high price for Cubans, in much of the country there is none. But the student community is making heavy use of cell phones and exchanging videos on them. The tight restriction of information has been deliberate policy of the Castro regime since its inception. At the time of Fidel Castro’s ‘retirement’, Cuba was listed amongst the ten most censored countries in the world. The supposed ‘change’ since little brother Raul took over is that Cuba is now listed 13th on ‘least free’ press freedom.
    For the communist system, public ignorance is an essential and represents bliss.
    Barack Obama to his credit spoke of the need to introduce access to the Internet both at the joint press conference following his meeting with Raul Castro at the Palace of the Revolution and in his speech at the Alicia Alonso Theatre. His other predominant theme was human rights.
    As ETECSA the monopoly telephone system which has a 27% shareholding by RAFIN SA named after the principals of the company Raul and Fidel Castro, the regime is able to access all calls and e-mails there is only careful use and the allocation of landlines is carried out through the Presidents on each block of the CDR.

    The supply of vegetables and fruit in Cuba is limited by the price controls. Hence the shortage of carrots, broccoli, onions, leeks, peppers, cauliflower, oranges, lemons, apples and and total absence of many agricultural/horicultural products where the prices set by the regime do not meet the cost of production. This policy was followed by Maduro in Venezuela by setting retail prices at levels which resulted in the products no longer being available and the rampant inflation. But one has to remember that he and Hugo Chavez learned their economic theories at the knees of Fidel Castro.
    The regime is fully aware of that communication technology is a threat to their stranglehold on power. Hence their obstructions.

  • Pretty sad IC and my opinion is that technology will be the wherewithal for change within Cuba. The new cellular agreements going into effect could trickle down along with interaction amongst US citizens but closing this Wholesale Market is a very bad idea indeed.

  • The reason for this is quite simple. The regime can’t allow private market efficiency to show up and undermine government inefficiency. That’s all there is to it. And until the regime changes this mindset Cuba will remain tge disaster it is today.

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