14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 7 October 2021– Long faces in line this Thursday at the entrance of the Plaza Carlos III shopping center to buy coffee. “Cuban coffee in American dollars,” one of the establishment’s customers, called Sorpresas, scoffed aloud. The line burst into laughter at this, but a resigned indignation was palpable.
“It is incredible that we pay in MLC [freely convertible currency] for the coffee that is produced in Cuba,” said a woman. “But nothing, we pay for it and we do nothing,” a young man responded quickly.
Coffee is one of the scarcest products in the national trade networks and in the informal market it can reach a whopping 1,000 pesos for a one-kilo (2.2 pounds) package, or 250 pesos for a 250-gram (approx. 9 ounces) package. Despite the official media announcing a supposed recovery in coffee production in the country since 2020, the improvement has not been noticed in stores that take payment in national currency, where the supply of coffee beans or ground coffee is practically non-existent.
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