Cuba: There Was Food But Not for Us

By Yoani Sanchez (14ymedio)

The shelves full of meat at one of the US dollar stores. (14ymedio)

HAVANA TIMES – When the sun rose this Monday, about 250 people were already waiting outside the Boyeros y Camagüey store in Havana to buy food and toiletries with foreign currency. Since last week, when the Cuban government confirmed what the independent media had already reported, the start of the sale of food in foreign currencies through magnetic cards has monopolized the talks and the outrage.

This weekend several images were leaked from the interior of one of the shops preparing to open its doors on July 20. So, we came face to face with a reality that we suspected but that we have seen confirmed on those shelves full of preserves, in the refrigerators loaded with meat, and on the shelves full of toiletries. There were products but not for those who only had national currency.

Where were all these sauces, these cuts of beef, the ground beef and these packages with beans when for months people have had to spend hours, if not days, in a line to buy what little stores had for sale in convertible pesos? Is it that they are going to make us believe that all this arrived in the country last week, circumventing the American embargo that the Plaza de la Revolución always uses as a pretext for the shortages?

These goods were here but the authorities did not want to sell them in the stores in Convertible and Cuban pesos (CUP and CUC). All those arguments that there were no raw materials and that the pandemic had left the country without the ability to buy basic items, were just to justify why there were no products for sale in exchange for those colored slips of paper that they still insist on calling “Cuban pesos,” when in reality they seem to levitate with so little worth.

They have kept us passing most of our lives in a long line to get a package of frozen chicken or some detergent, while in state warehouses there were tons of merchandise that was reserved exclusively for those who have the currency of that country which, in official propaganda, remains “the enemy.” This peculiar adversary, whose currency it is necessary to use to sustain a dysfunctional and unproductive system like the one that exists on this Island.

Today, when the police distributed the first 200 turns in line outside the Boyeros and Camagüey market, customers prepared not only to buy food and cleaning supplies, but also to peer into that inventory of products that has been hidden from us for months.


36 thoughts on “Cuba: There Was Food But Not for Us

  • July 27, 2020 at 1:39 am
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    TED YASHCHESHEN’s complaint about the Canada Revenue Agency (tax) is the most irrelevant comment I have ever read in HT.
    What about the Battersea Dogs Home?

  • July 27, 2020 at 1:24 am
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    You certainly swallowed the Castro regimes misinformation Javier Trump. For fifty nine years, they have trotted out the same old same old nonsense that the US embargo is responsible for their managerial incompetence, the consistent failure of five year plans, and the ever declining production levels in particular of agriculture, resulting in good land reverting to bush.

    It is not the US embargo that imposes repression in Cuba, that is the role of MININT!

    It is not the US embargo that prohibits free speech and expression!

    It is not the US embargo that prohibits a free media!

    Is the incompetence of the Cuban Postal Service a consequence of the US embargo?

    Is the incompetence of the internal distributive systems a consequence of the US embargo?

    Is the decline of sugar production a consequence of the US embargo?

    Finally Javier Trump, it is a US embargo, not a blockade as misrepresented by the Castro regime Propaganda Department. If you lived in Cuba, you would know the reality! Open and Shut!

    As for goodwill, relate that to the ghosts of those shot at La Cabana and to those revolutionaries who were jailed for opposing Fidel Castro’s imposition of communism.

  • July 26, 2020 at 6:35 pm
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    The Cuban Economic Blockade imposed by the US government is real.. It is mainly responsible for the hardships suffered by the Cubans…For anyone to suggest that this is not the case means that they are either lying intentionally or they are ignorant to reality…This is an open and shut case….And the sad thing about this is that those who have been so wicked in their attempts to promote and implement the sabotage of the Cuban economy, are now pointing fingers at the Cuban government as if they are responsible for the Cuban Blockade..I urge all those of good will to support the end the Cuban Blockade now….

  • July 26, 2020 at 4:32 pm
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    WOW! I have never read soo much comment on any subject cited in the Havana Times about the status of access to the food network. Not really sure what all is going on in the background with the power and control beings? I was in CUBA ten years ago and things were very controlled more so than when I was there five years ago. I have traveled from one end of the Island to the other. And been aware of the lack of food for the Cuban people vs. the tourists or the tour guides to eat with us having access to all kinds of food.
    I have met fellow Cubans in the USA that escaped from the power and control of the Cuban government and how much they appreciate their freedom and liberty. We have seen all the communist countries that have failed to prosper and their people suffer from it all!

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