14ymedio, Havana, 6 February 2020 — While National TV broadcasts constant calls to strengthen our personal hygiene to prevent contagious diseases, the Minister of Internal Trade, Betsy Díaz Velázquez, announced on Tuesday in Villa Clara that the Government will not be able to meet the demand for cleaning products in the country until April at the earliest because of “serious financial limitations.”
“Based on some decisions taking by the country’s leaders and the Ministry, which have been looking for variable and alternative financial sources, and have signed new agreements with our suppliers, we think that in April the supply of the main cleaning products and will stabilize, along with other products in high demand such as chicken,” Díaz Velázquez told the official press.
She acknowledged that cleaning products “have been missing in the month of January. We are not going to have the demand satisfied in February or March, but we hope that with several measures that are being taken, we can stabilize the production of these products by industry, and offer them to the population,” she explained.
The official justified this situation by saying that the State had redistributed its resources and prioritized the purchase of food, medicines and fuels. “Today our finances have to be used to overcome the adversities of the crude ‘blockade’ [the American embargo] and to be able to acquire fuel from other regions… The main priorities for the available finances are fuel and food,” she added.
This statement is belied by the situation of continuous and cyclical shortage of basic foods that Cubans have experienced in recent months. Detergent, soap and chicken are scarce on store shelves, while on pharmacy shelves many products have disappeared including condoms, thermometers and many medicines such as pain relievers, antibiotics and antidepressants.
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