Prices and other Horror Stories from Cuba

By Aurelio Pedroso  (Progreso Semanal)

Photo: Raquel Perez

HAVANA TIMES – There isn’t a time in the day here in Cuba when we don’t have to look at our wallets with sadness or up at the heavens. Our baseball players normally do the latter when they hit a home run, they lift their arms and eyes up to the infinite heavens, thanking God Almighty, when they haven’t ever stepped foot inside a church.

And, that is the big difference here. Some people are grateful, and others complain about their financial means to tackle the new bad news.

“Everything has gone up” is the handy phrase that a restaurant owner says, explaining how he has to pay 40 pesos (US $1.65) for a pound of lemons, to a woman who has to pay, all alone, for the essential extra she needs at a hard-currency store.

Meanwhile, incomes and pensions remain low and even the government has publicly recognized this. As a result, so many people find themselves forced to take part in activities that are considered illegal, which are nothing more than them trying to find a way to survive, and not to become criminals and no longer be dignified people.

Whomever steals 20 liters of diesel from the State to sell it for 15 Cuban pesos per liter, claims that they are doing this to be able to buy a pound of pork for 55 pesos. And, that butcher tells you that fodder prices are sky-high and he needs to pay 220 pesos or 10 CUC (=usd) so that, between all the neighbors, they can pay someone 100 CUC to clean the septic tank in their building.

The septic tank operator has publicly said that, with everything so expensive, the mechanic is offering a new pump for nothing less than 300 CUC. Another worker, in order to deal with life’s high prices and the few scruples of those who trade medicine on the black market, swears on the Bible, that his diabetic wife needs to pay someone else 30 pesos for a glibenclamide pill, who is alarmed because they had to pay 5 CUC or 120 pesos for a carton of 24 eggs…

The story is never-ending. The restless dog biting its own tail or, as we say in the game of dominoes: Songo knocks Borondongo, Borongo knocks …

And, meanwhile, the economy is sitting in a corner contemplating the landscape from the frontline without being able to do much but demanding greater productivity anyway. If there isn’t wealth, I can’t do much, it seems to say to itself.

Hard times call for decisions of the same magnitude…

16 thoughts on “Prices and other Horror Stories from Cuba

  • March 20, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    No tienes razón. Estas durmiendo.

  • March 20, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    I live in Canada and have traveled to Varadero Cuba about 20 times in the past 5 years . I have many friends . One of my friends works in a buffet restaurant and makes about 25 cuc a month . My other friend is an English teacher and makes 27 cuc a month but of course only works 10 months . You cant feed 2 people for 1 month with that money . So tell me . How do you pay rent ?? You cant rent a 200 square foot house for 50 cuc a month .

  • March 18, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Cuba have 11 million of homeless!

  • March 18, 2019 at 7:10 am

    Charles, you’re right!
    For some others, personal comfort seems to be their reason of life. Freedom is not what you own, materially speaking, is more about your mind, soul and heart. And at the end, it’s all you need to succeed.
    Cuba still have a very good education and health system, which can give them enough to start.
    For all other things everybody can improve the quality of comfort working a bit more and focusing about their self, families, friends. When you can, help your closes as much as you can, in this way you really do something good.
    Kennedy spoke his famous words, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” A country is made from people.
    There is no perfect country or system, but helping your families you help Cuba. Siempre!

  • March 15, 2019 at 8:16 am

    Carlitos please. Stop lying, if you really think that Cuba standard of living is that great go and set your home in there. I never would tell anyone what to do with their life but you are insulting 2 and half millions of Cubans living in exile, in thousands who are dead in the bottom of the sea.

  • March 15, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Move to Cuba if you think is that great. Cubans needs freedom. Democracy now!

  • March 15, 2019 at 8:02 am

    Rosita , you are right. It’s incredible how some people tells the Cubans that they live in paradise but they enjoy capitalism, democracy, and freedom of speech.

  • March 15, 2019 at 5:39 am

    Viva Cuba ! !!

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