14ymedio, Havana, 24 October 2020 — Meats and vegetables sold by the self-employed in Havana will have maximum prices set from now on. The resolution, published by the government of the capital on Friday, was immediately criticized.
These prices “seem set by business owners of agricultural products and not by the State”, claimed a citizen of the capital when reading the new resolution published by Tribuna, the official Havana newspaper. “For example, pork rib at 35 pesos and shoulder at 50 pesos, what lack of respect!”
As specified in the document, the standard governs retail sales and establishes the maximum value for meat products, sausages, smoked products, pork, meats, fruits, grains, vegetables and vegetables that are marketed in the supply-and-demand (i.e. not rationed) and non-agricultural cooperatives markets or those sold by street vendors.
In establishments managed only by self-employed workers, where they have “incorporated a component of services, which give added value”, such as peeling and cutting of meats or pickling of the products they sell, “up to 40 % above the approved price has been established”.
“This is going to result in products disappearing. It is true that prices are prohibitive, but we already experienced something like this last year when they imposed price caps and we stopped seeing a lot of merchandise which one could obtain only by traveling to the fields,” lamented a customer of the Vedado neighborhood market on 19 and B streets, this Friday afternoon.
Hours before the measure had been made public, an Internet user published on Facebook several images of a Havana market where a pound of tomatoes cost 50 CUP, and one of peppers, 60 CUP
Hours before the measure had been made public, an Internet user published on Facebook several images of a Havana market where a pound of tomatoes cost 50 CUP, and one of peppers, 60 CUP. “When did wages increase that I have not heard?” a woman stated sarcastically, who criticized that a worker had to work between two and three days to acquire each of these products.
“What was happening was an abuse and there were already people who even had to give up sweet potatoes, which became very expensive”, a retired woman who frequently visits the market on San Rafael Street in Centro Habana told 14ymedio. “I hope this makes sellers reconsider,” she says.
In recent months, as the capital entered the resurgence of Covid-19 infections, it fell into a deep crisis from which it has not emerged. This newspaper has confirmed how the main private markets in the region remain practically without products.
At the beginning of September, with the intensification of measures to stop the spread of the pandemic, empty pallets, closed markets and long faces were part of the landscape due to the establishment of controls on access roads in the capital, which hindered supply sourcing from privately managed businesses.
Almost a month after the strict regulations were lifted, reality has not changed much and, given the shortages, prices continue to skyrocket.
Translated by Norma Whiting
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.