Cuban Government Goes After Resellers Through Social Media

Merchandise seized in an operation against an informal merchant who used Facebook to promote his business. (Screen Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 August 2020 — Digital platforms are the new troubled river in which police operations against resellers and hoarders fish . A television report released this Wednesday details the offensive, in the city of Pinar del Río, against an informal merchant who used Facebook to promote her merchandise.

“Several houses located in the provincial capital served as warehouses for a citizen to receive items,” such as instant glue, makeup sets, toothbrushes and chewing gum, according to images shown on the primetime news program that night. The woman “was dedicated to the sale of products brought from abroad,” detailed Alexis Hernández González, first officer of the Technical Investigations Department (DTI).

The alleged illegal seller used sites or forums on the Internet “to promote the sale of these products,” added Hernández. The case “continues under investigation by the competent authorities,” the report stated.

Lieutenant Colonel Rodelay Ramos García, head of the Provincial Criminal Investigation Unit, explained: “A collection of imported goods were seized, including clothing, beauty articles, footwear, and others, which are now being made available to the courts. “

“Right now, the woman seized for the crimes of illicit economic activity and bribery is being processed,” said Ramos, who also pointed out that the accused is being held “under the precautionary measure of provisional prison.”

In the middle of a week where the authorities have launched a strong campaign against coleros (people who stand in line for others) and resellers, social networks and instant messaging services are the targets of investigations to penalize the large black market that operates on the island.

On December 31, 2013, the sale of imported clothing, footwear and other products was prohibited in Cuba. Until then, a growing private business of merchandise sales spread throughout the Island, mainly from countries such as Mexico, Panama and Ecuador. The activity had proliferated under the protection of self-employment licenses to operate as a “dressmaker” or “tailor.” The ban on this trade plunged thousands of sellers into the black market.


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