The ‘Mules’ Suffer Another Blow With the New Flight Restrictions in Cuba

14ymedio, Havana, 4 January 2021 — Cuban commerce was just beginning to take off when it suffered another blow. The Government of Havana’s restrictions on the number of flights that can come to Cuba, which came into force on January 1, has been bad news for the mules who feed Cuba’s informal networks, and bad … Continue reading “The ‘Mules’ Suffer Another Blow With the New Flight Restrictions in Cuba”

Mules Fear New Customs Restrictions May Be Permanent

14ymedio, Fernando Donate Ochoa, Holguín, June 27, 2020 — Miguel envisioned his prosperous business going bankrupt when authorities announced on March 2 that, due to Covid-19, residents of Cuba would not be able to travel abroad until further notice. He now fears that travel and import restrictions will remain in place long after the pandemic … Continue reading “Mules Fear New Customs Restrictions May Be Permanent”

For the "Mules," Life Goes On, and So Does Business

14ymedio, Marcelo Hernández, Havana, October 17, 2019 — Joaquín and Modesto are friends and relatives who saw from the beginning that trips to Panama to bring back to Cuba household appliances and electric motorcycles would be a successful business. Since the middle of 2018 they have worked fulfilling on-demand orders, putting an added value on the … Continue reading “For the "Mules," Life Goes On, and So Does Business”

Cuban President Diaz-Canel Gives the Mules a Reprieve Until Further Notice

14ymedio, Havana, 4 July 2019 — Cuban State Television’s Roundtable show has needed two days to explain,  with Miguel Diaz-Canel and his Economy Minister, Alejandro Gil Fernandez, the salary increase for state sector employees announced last Thursday. Among the few novelties outlined by the duo responsible for the economic march of the nation was the advancement … Continue reading “Cuban President Diaz-Canel Gives the Mules a Reprieve Until Further Notice”

Cuban Customs Threatens to Seize Goods Brought by ‘Mules’ from the U.S.

14ymedio, Mario J. Pentón, Miami, 6 June 2018 — The General Customs of the Republic of Cuba threatened on Wednesday to confiscate packages sent from the United States through ‘mules’ (people who travel specifically to the island to carry merchandise) who serve shipping agencies based in the U.S.. The practice of sending goods  through agencies, which Havana … Continue reading “Cuban Customs Threatens to Seize Goods Brought by ‘Mules’ from the U.S.”

Haiti is the New Route for Cuban "Mules" in Search of Drugs and Illegal Surgical Equipment / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 5 February 2018 — Haiti is becoming the shortest, cheapest and most popular route among mules and Cuban merchants, who travel there for “shopping tours” to supply the informal street businesses and the dangerous market of illegal surgical drugs and equipment. “A lot of hidden goods are entering the country from these opportunistic excursions,” a source linked to the General … Continue reading “Haiti is the New Route for Cuban "Mules" in Search of Drugs and Illegal Surgical Equipment / Juan Juan Almeida”

The Self-Employed and the “Mules” / Yoani Sánchez

The pepper is of carved wood and a seasoning container on the table says “Sedano’s” in green letters. The private restaurant waits for the supplies that will arrive this Saturday in an enormous delivery transported by a “mula” — a mule. If the delivery is even a day late, many of the items offered on … Continue reading “The Self-Employed and the “Mules” / Yoani Sánchez”

Welcome, Mules / Iván García

Eliseo, 39, is considered a public benefactor. A guy who is always welcome. For a decade, this Cuban American has been a ‘mule’. He resides in Miami and makes some fifteen trips to the island every year. Sometimes more. Right now, from his mobile phone, he calls his usual driver to pick him up at … Continue reading “Welcome, Mules / Iván García”

Suspicion Grows that the Cuban Regime is Preparing a Slow Motion Mariel* Through Nicaragua

14ymedio, Havana, 24 November, 2021 — There was not a soul this Tuesday in the basement of the Habana Libre hotel where long lines used to form to buy tickets to Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua, but the storm is coming. After Nicaragua made public this Monday that it will stop requiring visas for Cubans, it only remains … Continue reading “Suspicion Grows that the Cuban Regime is Preparing a Slow Motion Mariel* Through Nicaragua”

With Underwear Like This, Nobody in Cuba Is Getting Undressed

14ymedio, Havana, October 17, 2021 “I am selling six pairs of sexy, modern underwear, used but well cared for,” reads a notice on one of Cuba’s most popular classified ad sites. It informs interested buyers that “they are like new, with firm elastic,” a plus in a country where, for over a year, it has … Continue reading “With Underwear Like This, Nobody in Cuba Is Getting Undressed”

The Law of Supply and Demand Draws Cubans to Garage Sales

14ymedio, Natalia Lopez Moya, Havana, October 12, 2021 — Clothes, shoes and small appliances, but also electrical outlets, a screw, hair clips, earrings, silicone, an ornamental plant, an old hookah and even a pre-1959 phone book. You can find anything at garage sales, which the government legalized on July 20 and are now proliferating across … Continue reading “The Law of Supply and Demand Draws Cubans to Garage Sales”

Relatives of Those Arrested on July 11 Denounce the Lack of Justice in Cuba

14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 9 August 2021 — Of the dozen appeals filed last Friday to the sentences handed down against protesters from the July 11 protests, only four have been successful. The strong police operation that day around the People’s Provincial Court of Havana, near the Capitol, to prevent relatives and onlookers from approaching continues as of … Continue reading “Relatives of Those Arrested on July 11 Denounce the Lack of Justice in Cuba”

Garage Sales and Installment Plans Legalized in Cuba

14ymedio, Havana, July 22, 2021 — Garage sales, a retail option that many Cuban shoppers have been using for some years, have been legalized according to an announcement that appeared on Tuesday in the Official Gazette. Another resolution also allows customers to purchase items using installment plans from retail stores that offer them. The Ministry … Continue reading “Garage Sales and Installment Plans Legalized in Cuba”

Import of $3,000 in Locks and Hinges Seen as an Accomplishment in Cuba

14ymedio, Havana, 5 July 2021 — A carpenter in Guantanamo is, so far, the only self-employed tradesman who has been able to import supplies for his own business. Imports by private individuals have only been allowed in Cuba since August. All such transactions must be done in dollars, however, and with state-owned companies acting as … Continue reading “Import of $3,000 in Locks and Hinges Seen as an Accomplishment in Cuba”

Cubans Selling Their Few Belongings to Fly to Moscow: ‘I Prefer Putin’s Russia’

14ymedio, Havana, June 19, 2021 — The economic crisis and pandemic-related travel restrictions have turned the compass of Cuban emigration towards Russia, which offers two advantages: there are no visa requirements and there are several flights there a week. As a result, thousands of Cubans are traveling to Moscow, hoping either to stay there permanently … Continue reading “Cubans Selling Their Few Belongings to Fly to Moscow: ‘I Prefer Putin’s Russia’”