By Aurelio Pedroso (Progreso Semanal)
HAVANA TIMES – Snow White’s evil stepmother, who could have been charged with attempted murder, only needed to suffer the hard-moral blow of seeing her stepdaughter happy in the arms of a beautiful prince and go mad with envy when her (let’s say adopted) seven dwarves thanked her and moved into the palace from their home in the forest.
The seven employees (pure coincidence) at the La Puntilla shopping mall (in the Cuban capital) involved in the Apple affair, were let go from their respective jobs and some will go to trial, accused of a crime that has yet to become public knowledge.
Prescribed by some nutritionists as the best fruit for diabetics, apples return to the fray.
I was talking to a good friend and modern man about what had happened when somebody bought 15,000 apples, and a few hours after a colleague reported it, the CIMEX corporation (which belongs to the Armed Forces’ business group) was already issuing the first punishments and warned that such scheming behavior, favoritism, chaos and receiving money from anyone, was far from the intentions of its over 35,000 employees.
The thinking of my friend, my colleague in fact, hit the nail on the head: “We experienced things like this in the early ‘60s, when the ration card was imposed in the end because of so many shortages and hoarding…”
Is history repeating itself after over half a century?
The incident, which took place on September 9th, spread like wildfire in different international media platforms, seasoned with the most wide-ranging editorial spices.
What would surely be a great achievement for any sales manager anywhere else in the world, suddenly dispatching 150 boxes of 100 apples each was a serious problem in Cuba, as these lay-offs and possible legal sanctions prove.
It isn’t very hard to go to the causes of this problem. Beyond the many aspects that state authorities are weighing up (absence of control, little or no requirements, bad habits, poor storage facilities, a lack of fuel in peak hours and even delays in reducing the prices of products that are about to expire), the real reason for such action lies in Cuba’s widespread shortages and the absence of a wholesale market.
For now, we know absolutely nothing about the anonymous buyer and what such a load of apples bought legally were intended for. According to witnesses, it was paid for properly.
Charles Perrault chose not to tell us what the end would be for the jealous stepmother. In our story, nobody has told us what has happened to these apples either, if they were seized and whether the well-to-do buyer will be taken to court.
“Ten per person” has been the executives’ response to employees, when these goddamn apples return, and the Ministry of Interior Commerce (MINCIN) has already recommended that nearly 50 products (48) need to be rationed at these establishments.
Steps taken in the face of bothersome hoarding (whether that’s of toilet paper, detergent, medicines and even condoms) are backward, there’s no doubt about it. If only this were the beginning to gain momentum and take more revolutionary action. And for a policy to be implemented at shopping malls similar to the one at hotels managed by foreign capital, until we have profitable airs in our ailing economy, better buyers and less corruption.