Before November 15, Products Reappear in Cuba as if by Magic

This line this Friday in Central Havana, where products that had been missing for months had been put on sale in Cuban pesos. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 30 October 2021 — As if by magic, products that had been absent from the shelves of Central Havana for months have appeared. The neighbors, as expected, did not take long to gather around the shops in the neighborhood.

Chicken, hotdogs, shampoo, toothpaste and cologne were on sale this Friday in stores like La Mía, on Belascoain Street. “This is good today, for a long time now they didn’t have so many things for sale in the same place,” commented a man in line. “That’s because of November 15,” another man replied, “after that day, we go back to chicken one day and, if anything, mincemeat the next.”

And yes, the toothpaste, ran out first thing in the morning.

When they had collected 160 identity cards from the people in line, it was noon and 100 people were still waiting around the corner for their cards to be taken. Several members of the “coleros confrontation brigades” at the door of the store organized the flow of customers, who, with their rationbook in hand, had overcome the last obstacle before entering the market.

“This is disrespectful, they have passed a few people ahead of everyone, I have been playing the game for a while,” lamented a neighbor of about 50 years, standing in the line. “Groups to confront the coleros for what? If the coleros are first in line; then they also all leave with their packs full and even one of them may not find anything left to buy.”

State businesses that offer products in national currency are going through a shortage crisis that is almost commonplace, which began in 2019, and that the authorities called ’temporary’, and which reached its zenith with the covid pandemic. After the protests of July 11 and, in the last month, with the call for a Civic March for Change for November 15, Havanans have seen, not without suspicion, a discreet improvement in the offer of products, especially in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of the capital.


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