Things Cubans Sell on the Streets


Photos by Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Jobless people selling something on the streets is a very common scene in many Latin American countries with informal sectors surpassing those with steady employment. While they have always existed in Cuba, although for many years having to sell in the shadows, today they are above board and a familiar part of the scenery here in the capital. Retired folk without family or outside help are part of the landscape.

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One thought on “Things Cubans Sell on the Streets

  • The worst form of violence!
    One of the characteristics of Cuba is that everybody is trying to sell something. The regime endeavors to benefit by selling licenses. So, the man with a couple of sweeping brushes and squeegees walking the streets, the lady selling a few clothes from her porch, the young fellow offeriing pirated DVDs for 20 pesos are all supposed to have licenses and the CDR is there to report them if they don’t comply. Every family has to find a way to survive tomorrow. The scenes shown are not unique to Habana but are to be found in every city and town. Initially DVD’S were sold at 25-30 pesos each. But as increasing numbers of people had to enter the “private sector” there were more vendors and no increase in the number of buyers. So, prices were cut to 20 and even 15 pesos per DVD. The law of diminishing returns. In our town an enterprising man started renting out DVDs for 5 pesos. All sorts of handcarts are used
    to carry fruit and vegetables. Within three blocks of our home there are five people selling a vegetables. The volume sold would be regarded in other countries as pitiable but in Cuba with the average income well below a dollar a day, a few sales enable survival.
    The regime has in pursuit of the ‘new man’ created a society where there is no motivation and widespread poverty. It was Mahatma Gandhi who said:

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