My Neighbor’s illegal Sodas

By Jancel Moreno

Alamar, Havana. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — I have lived in the Alamar neighborhood ever since I was born, which lies to the east of the city. My neighborhood is very well-known for the number of buildings there are, and many people even say as a joke that the architect who was responsible for building here, flew in a helicopter and threw 100 matchboxes out of the window and wherever they landed, that’s where he built something, without caring about organization, much less aesthetics.

As we all know, illegal “business” or as we say business “on the side” exists all over the country. The reason why Cubans resort to this practice is more than obvious, “the blockade” and it isn’t the United State’s embargo against Cuba to be precise.

One of my neighbors is a single mother who has 2 children, aged 7 and 10 years old respectively. In order for her to make a little more money than what she earns cleaning a primary school, my neighbor Emiley Suarez sells fizzy sodas. And she told me that the business is going very well, because humbly-speaking, her sodas are very good.

However, she hasn’t been able to sell a single bottle since Saturday, as her voting district representative (delegado) threatened to report her to the police because her business is illegal. Now, she has to leave behind this extra money that was coming in and adapt her expenditure to her 375 pesos (18 USD) salary.

The funny thing about all of this is that the representative’s own family buys Emiley’s sodas for his granddaughters’ snack time, Yamila Penalver, his daughter herself claimed.

I understand that as citizens we need to fight illicit activities but I think we have to first take a look around us, and assess whether this person is doing it because they need to or simply to make an extra buck.

Emiley’s case isn’t the only one out there, but it’s the one that I personally know of and have seen up close. Now, her youngest daughter, who is 7 years old, can no longer drink a glass of milk in the morning or before going to sleep, because even though she needs it, the government took it away from her, and her mother can no longer give herself the luxury of spending 70, 80 or 100 pesos on a bag of powdered milk, when she has to feed and dress her two girls all alone.

I only hope that they don’t clip the wings of those who need them to get by in my country one day here. I hope that people like my dear delegado never need a glass of water from anyone, because sooner rather than later, they will find themselves all alone, paying for every single person they destroyed, threatened and didn’t allow to progress, all in the name of their “Revolution”.



2 thoughts on “My Neighbor’s illegal Sodas

  • What a disgraceful economic model that destroys the human spirit while the elites claims to serve humanity.

  • In our community those who required paint knew not to go to the GAESA owned shops, but to a lady who sold paint from her house providing a wide range of colours. I can say from personal experience that she did so for over six years. However eventually the CDR reported her and late last year the MININT goons arrived and arrested her so she went to jail and her ‘business’ was closed down. However the GAESA stores don’t currently have any paint for sale!

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