Cuba’s Ministry of Commerce is “At the Service of the Coronavirus”

“At the service of the coronvirus,” it reads, with an unforgivable misprint to top it all. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 April 2020 — With each official event or prominent date, it is common to see state vehicles on the streets of Cuba with a “via libre” pass attached to the windshield. Thus they are able to circulate without restrictions, whether it’s during the May 1 parades, emergency situations caused by hurricanes, or carnivals. Now Covid-19 has readjusted the priorities and the signs in the windshields mention the pandemic, but without changing the structure of the sentence.

“Via,” it says in large letters a paper pasted in a car belonging to the Ministry of Internal Commerce (Mincin), which, on Thursday morning distributed instructions to various food service venues in the Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución municipality. But underneath the three-letter word, a written phrase was very disturbing: “At the service of the coronvirus,” it reads, with an unforgivable misprint to top it all.

“They are at the service of the coronavirus instead of being at the service of the population,” said a neighborhood resident near Tulipán Street, who found that the state cafe in the area has not sold alcoholic beverages to the public since Thursday. “My daughter is 15 years old today and I had been dreaming about this party for years. We decided to just have a family meal and I came to get some cold ones for the adults,” she said.

The last time there was a dry law in Cuba was at the death of Fidel Castro in November 2016. This Wednesday, the Cuban authorities announced that the sale of beer and rum for consumption on state premises was canceled, but they left the door open for purchases to take home. “Today we have been guided not to sell anything with alcohol, not even to take away,” explains an employee of a bar on the corner of Factor Street on Thursday. “They collected everything: rum, brandy and vodka.”


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