Check the Air in the Tube / Rebeca Monzo

Rebeca Monzo, 4 June 2015 — One evening at the beginning of the “Special Period,” when I was meeting with friends at home, I told them to drink lemongrass tea, because coffee would now become scarce: “What I most regret is not the wretched goods that will be coming, but what wretches we are going to become,” speaking in general terms of course.

Unfortunately this has happened, and on a gradually increasing scale we have thievery, deception, fraud, double standards, and many other social vices.

Right now corruption cases on the island are alarming, at all levels: stealing and selling exam answers and graduation certificates, selling jobs, falsifying payrolls, and many others. Not to mention joint ventures, where the scams and their dividends reach into the millions.

One that now has my attention is particularly painful, involving medications, because it plays dirty with the health of the population.

The daily Granma published a complaint on Friday May 29th, on page 11 (national edition) in the Letters section, from Yasser Huete, a citizen from Artemisa, who asserts that tubes of Tolnaftato (an anti-fungal skin cream) from the Roberto Escudero Laboratories, located at 20th of May Street, in Cerro, Havana, are more than 50% filled with air.

He claims that he ran a test by buying two tubes and emptying one of them, then weighing it, and the resulting difference was 48.6 grams, when the weight printed on the tube is 100 grams. He went to the pharmacy where he had bought them to complain, and the employee who waited on him said they had already received several complaints like this from other citizens involving the same laboratory, which means, according to the affected chronic patient who made the complaint, that he has to “do more with less.”