14ymedio, Havana, 21 October 2022 — At least 30 people were arrested by the Cuban police for reselling basic necessities in the area known as Feria de 100th and Boyeros, in Havana. In the police procedure, carried out this Thursday, hundreds of cartons of eggs, chicken and picadillo packages were seized, the official media confirmed.
Elements of the Police and the Technical Investigation Department (DTI), a unit of the Ministry of the Interior, participated in the search. The uniformed officers arrived at the popular fair in the morning, when “from one moment to the next, they began to take away all the resellers who always walk through the area,” said La Página de Mauro Torres, sympathetic to the regime.
A witness to the operation said that merchants sold the products at exorbitant prices, according to the official press, which reproduces the user’s text on Facebook. Among these were the egg cartons at 2,000 pesos and the chicken packages — which in stores costs 90 pesos — at 1,500. “This was an abuse, so good for the police and the DTI,” the neighbour allegedly added.
Another witness pointed out that the operation reached a house near the fair, where they removed a truck loaded with chicken and picadillo packages. This person said that the house “contained more than four hundred cartons of eggs,” which were seized by the officers.
The publication points out that this type of operation enjoys “popular backing” because people who “profit from the needs of others” by selling basic products from the Cuban food basket at prices ten times above the market value are stopped.
The shortage of food and basic products on the Island causes distortions that contribute to fueling the black market, where you can find everything from technology items to sanitary pads for women at high prices.
The news of the operation has been applauded by many readers of the official newspaper, but there have been quite a few who have complained to the authorities about the inefficiency in controlling “stockpiling” and not being able to guarantee the supply of basic products. “At last we see something that helps break the criminal chain, although they have to get to the bottom, because 400 cartons of egg don’t just come out of nowhere, even less now that there isn’t anywhere you can find them,” said a online commenter.
“Resellers are abusers, but who is to blame for this happening? Where do those amounts of products come from? Are they really resellers?” asks Elina Mendoza. Another commenter, identified as Freddy, asked that those who buy dollars in the Cadecas [currency exchanges] and then resell them on the street be investigated.
Officialdom, for its part, announced that this is one of the investigations they will carry out in Havana against the “resellers who do so much damage to the population.”
The popular Fair, also known as “the candonga [the joke] of 100th and Boyeros” specializes in the sale of hardware products, plumbing, household supplies and other high-demand items that are scarce in state stores. Although, according to the law, merchants or street vendors who offer their goods on site can only sell domestically-manufactured products or handicrafts, the truth is that usually a shopper can find accessories and parts imported or taken from state warehouses.
Among the tables that offer Superglue, children’s toys and pipe joints, other sellers, who quietly tout packages of frozen chicken, eggs, powdered milk and other food items often hang around. The practice is so widespread that the Fair has the reputation of being a place where “everything or almost everything can be found.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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