14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodriguez, Havana, 5 January 2024 — State-run media has been flooding pages and screens for days with the faces of Fidel Castro, his brother Raúl and other bearded “heroes” on the occasion of the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Cuban revolution. In the official rhetoric, there is only room for triumph and volunteerism, not for the impoverished reality that the Cuban people are experiencing.
It is Friday and nothing in Havana suggests that this is the eve of a Catholic holiday: Three King’s Day. Deserted streets, uncollected garbage, houses for sale. All are part of the backdrop that a stroll through the capital provides.
The only thing the establishment has to offer are cans of sugary soda, the kind of universal food that remains available even in the midst of misery
There is nothing special to buy in the shops either, especially in the most depressed neighborhoods such as Lawton and Tenth of October. At a small, privately owned store on the corner of Porvenir and Pocito streets, a discouraging sign is propped up on the counter: “No yogurt, no milk, no eggs, no cheese today.”
“Then it will be tomorrow,” says an elderly woman sarcastically as she walks past the place. “The 65th anniversary is off to a good start.”
The only thing the establishment has to offer are cans of sugary soda, the kind of universal food that remains available even in the midst of misery. The store provides a corner from which to observe the true portrait of the revolution: one of shortages and hopelessness.
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.