Havana’s Intersection of Santa Catalina & 10 de Octubre

Photo Feature by Ernesto Gonzalez Diaz

HAVANA TIMES – The intersection of Santa Catalina avenue and 10 de Octubre avenues is one of the busiest and most important in the Havana municipality of 10 de Octubre, which takes its name from the street that crosses it from north to south.

This intersection is very well trafficked because it is in the middle of an urban center with a notable population density, formed by the neighborhoods of Santos Suarez, La Víbora and Lawton. The corner is like a kind of “triple border” between these neighborhoods.

Around this corner we have a small park, quite well preserved and cared for, two fast food restaurants, one very expensive and the other slightly cheaper, both managed by private entities. Between both restaurants there is a market managed by the small private business Nanda Grupo that offers canned food imported at prices that are better not even to look at, dairy products of national production and preserves among other food products that are also imported.

But perhaps the busiest point is the market of the so-called Youth Labor Army (EJT), which, at a time when the country suffers from severe food shortages, sometimes this site has a diverse selection of meats, fruits, vegetables, meat and pre-processed foods at slightly less prohibitive prices than those offered by privately run agro-markets but still too high for salaried workers and pensioners.

For those who do not live in Cuba, the Youth Labor Army is a military corps belonging to the MINFAR (Ministry of Defense), whose mission is to produce food, employing soldiers and officers solely in agriculture and the marketing of harvests, although it is worth noting that a good part of its production is destined for internal consumption by the Armed Forces and the surplus is what is sold to the population.

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