Why Cuba Doesn’t Mark Down Close to Out-of-Date Products

Expired products or those close to their sell-by date aren’t reduced in Cuba because of the monopoly on retail sales which doesn’t allow consumers to make demands.

By Jose Gabriel Barrenechea  (Cubaencuentro)

Havana supermarket that sells in hard currency. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES – In Cuba, retail sales outlets can’t cut prices of products, even when they are past their sell-by date. You can only do this if you first fill out a heap of paperwork, and practically need the President’s personal stamp of approval.

Therefore, in Cuba, the people who sell (in theory the population who own national modes of production and distribution) can’t ever lose. Nevertheless, this is at the expense of the same population, who also consume these products which can’t be reduced at retail stores, belonging to them, not even when they are already expired.

Clearly, there is something here that doesn’t make sense.

Expiring products aren’t reduced for consumers as a rule, because there is an absolute monopoly controlling supply and this doesn’t let any consumer make an effective demand. Apart from thanking its supplier and clapping when it promises to have a look into the problem.

The truth is that Cuban people consume without any real legal defense, but aren’t they the real owners of modes of production and wealth distribution?

More than a Socialist State founded on Karl Marx’s ideas about social progress, Cuba is really built upon the Giant from Trier’s ‘worst nightmare: Cuba is a State where the process of capital concentration in the hands of a select few has been completed, to the point that the monopoly company and the State have joined hands and become one.

In Cuba, we don’t have a Socialist State, but an economic monopoly that has become the State, or a State that has become a super economic and financial monopoly.

In this context, the super-centralized State/monopoly company doesn’t only impose its conditions on us from its favorable position of holding absolute control over the supply side of the market, but also from the privileged position they have as they have every control and repression mechanism of a modern state in their power.

The fact that this State dresses itself up in a false discourse of social property, of Marxist socialism more concretely, is nothing but a means (extremely effective, if we take a look at how deceived we’ve been and how many of us still are in Cuba) which they have used to try and justify this authoritarian control over the economy and human life which, according to Marx, could have been the precursor to real socialism winning ground: a socialism where the most important thing is that property is social, or private but of social interest, and that power is really socialized.

In this regard, you, who call yourself a socialist, or even Marxist: the real socialist revolution will only begin in Cuba when we don’t just passively endorse a Constitution which an elite of monopoly property owners, and the political power, have been nice enough to give to us, personally consulting us, but we haven’t been allowed to discuss it properly.

The socialist revolution will only begin when we take the first step to socialize power: When we say NO, so they really have to take us into account at the very least.



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