14ymedio, Havana, 18 February 2016 – A new broom sweeps clean. So goes a saying that refers to the effectiveness of everything novel and brand new. However, often buying home cleaning supplies is a headache for Cuban families. Items in convertible pesos are expensive and of poor quality, which has led to the proliferation of vendors of mop sticks, dustpans, brooms and squeegees to clean the water from the floor.
The traders are often harassed by the police, as the raw material for these tools comes from smuggling networks. The high demand has increased the offerings, which now also include push brooms for outdoor areas, dusters and toilet plungers.
There are more than a few Cubans who take advantage of a trip abroad to bring home a broom or other cleaning tool in their personal belongings. Next to toilet paper, washing detergent and vitamins, brooms are an inseparable part of the travelers’ luggage.