14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, July 25, 2023 — Several concerns arose immediately among Cubans upon learning that July 26th holidays would be extended. The holiday commemorates the frustrated assault on the Moncada barracks, in Santiago de Cuba, by Fidel Castro in 1953. So the banks will not open? What will happen to the procedures in public offices? Taking a full week off amid the country’s disastrous production numbers?
The concerns were observed in the comments on the notes in the official media, last Saturday, reporting that for the seventieth anniversary of the event not only would July 25, 26 and 27 be holidays, but also “the convenience of declaring Friday the 28th as a non-working day was evaluated.”
“A non-working week! I hope that by 2024 we will overcome that, it is work and productivity time,” expressed the on-line commenter Cocuyo. Along the same lines, Ruffini opined: “Too many rest days affect the economy.”
More vehement was Ángel: “How do they do that, if what the country needs is for it to produce, uninterrupted. I don’t really know what they are thinking about.” And also Oslaida: “We all like to rest, but they just called for more production, how? With practically no work for a week? I don’t understand, with so many people who make a living from their business and illegalities.”
Leonardo made his anguish over the scarcity that the country is experiencing very clear: “Why more non-working days for more adverse situations, nothing comes to the butcher shops, to the bodegas and everything is closed. Before it was rest and parties, now there are worries”.
Others complained about the closed offices, already a bureaucratic hole of negligence and inefficiency. Thus Alice: “The one who has an appointment at the notary’s office set aside for an application, when are they going to get it?”
However, the main concern had to do with the banks. “Will the bank guarantee the money in the ATMs for those days?” Victoria asked. “Is it possible to direct people that with the crisis we have to acquire cash for specific expenses, if the ATMs do not work?” suggested Francisco Martínez Rodríguez. “There is no money in the ATMs, nor is there anyone to refill them. A week of monetary fasting?” User Sachiel exclaimed.
The Banco Metropolitano issued a note this Tuesday to inform which branches will be open in the capital during these four days, starting with this Tuesday, and only part-time.
In the streets of Havana, the annoyance and restlessness in front of the ATMs is more than evident. The ATMs visited by this newspaper have lines of more than half a block, all of them with people complaining.
“To have ATMs you have to have them filled all the time, not let them run out of money right away,” lamented a woman at the Belascoaín and Zanja branch, the only one open this day in the municipality of Centro Habana, and then only until 12:30. She, like many in line, fears that when the bank closes, the money in the ATMs will run out. “And this one, for example, doesn’t open until Friday,” she stressed. Another man replied: “We already battle every day when all the banks are open, imagine now.”
Meanwhile, of the three Infanta ATMs only two were working.
The warning from the authorities, which additionally recommends “using electronic payment channels for the acquisition of goods and services,” has only further got people fired up. “They want to computerize the country and make payments electronic, but Transfermóvil and EnZona have failures all the time,” said a young man in the same line.
In the markets, open until two in the afternoon, the outlook was also tense. In the outdoor eating area of the Plaza de Carlos III, the discontent was due to the limitations on allowing people to buy hamburgers (two per person and at 90 pesos). In this regard, a woman protested: “Today they are working at their leisure, as they want, as if the country did not have the same hunger today, which is a holiday.”
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