14ymedio, Havana, 29 December 2020 — “There isn’t any” wins the game over supply in Cuban markets, which for months have been a true reflection of the scarcities and shortages that the island is experiencing, a severe crisis that seems to have no end.
In the Youth Labor Army (EJT) market on Tulipán Street, in Havana’s New Vedado dneighborhood, the word “NO” reigns supreme on the board that list the products available in each of the kiosks in the normally busy market. And at the top of the products sign, a blunt warning: “CUC (Cuban convertible pesos) is not accepted.”
The EJT, which is part of the ground troops of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, is in charge of managing and directing state farms. Among its objectives are to carry out “productive activities of interest to” the economic and social development of the country.
The agricultural markets of the EJT were one of the alternatives that emerged in the midst of the economic crisis of the Special Period, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of its subsidey to Cuba. On the island there are 26 businesses of this type, which according to the official press, “sell products and services to the population for more than 300 million pesos a year, at prices that, although still far from those desired, are the lowest in that sphere. “
The EJT markets have been characterized by an assortment of vegetables that can be massively transported in the style of cassava, plantains and sweet potatoes, but offer few of the products that need more care in their transfer and storage such as fruits, sausages or more delicate vegetables.
However, the shortages have also affected the most common food products at the EJT markets, and on the price board for the New Vedado site the merchants have written “NO” next to all the foods that are missing, to avoid constant questions from the customers.
If the 33 products on the board this Tuesday, the last Tuesday of the year, only three products are for sale: juice in bags, ginger, and coarsely chopped cornmeal. The main ingredients desired by Cubans for their New Years Eve table are written on the board, but a brief monosyllable testifies to their absence.
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