Government Official in Guines, Cuba, Celebrates Birthday with Pinata Filled with Dollars

Video: The party scene starts at 5:59. There is then additional commentary and the party scene resumes at 8:28, with the breaking of the piñata.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/Mario J. Pentón, Havana/Miami, 20 August 2020 — The video lasts only a few seconds but its content shook the entire political class of the Güines municipality, south of Havana. It is the birthday celebration of Patricia Mafút Tejeda, an official who in the middle of the pandemic threw a party and broke a piñata with dollars inside.

“The level of corruption of the Government of Güines is impressive. My mother has been waiting for 19 years for them to deliver the materials to finish my house,” says José Luis Pedroso Piedra, the first to denounce the behavior of the leader.

Pedroso, who left Cuba two years ago, was also a leader in the Union of Young Communists. As he recounted by telephone from the south of the continent “he was disappointed” to see “so much corruption and so many lies” in the authorities.

“This weekend the entire staff of the Government of Güines was in a house on the beach with beers that they confiscated from the self-employed,” he denounced.

Pedroso created a YouTube channel to talk about the problems of his people and says he fears for the fate of his relatives who are still in Cuba.

“They have threatened my family and myself through false profiles on social networks. They want to shut me up but they will not succeed,” he said.

Patricia Mafút Tejeda works as Director of Infrastructure in the Council of the Municipal Administration of Güines. In a brief call to her office Wednesday, several of her colleagues said they knew about the controversial video but declined to comment on it.

“She is still working, attending meetings and on duty. She is not answering anything related to the video and will be out for the next five days because she is busy in meetings,” said an employee.

Mafút was not available to respond to a request for comment from El Nuevo Herald.

In the video, revealed by Pedroso, the leader is seen, beer in hand, dressed in white Fila brand clothing, breaking a piñata with her photograph on it. Instead of candy and sweets, which is customary at anniversary parties, the piñata contained dollars.

Party guests rush to grab the bills as the leader yells, “Dollars, dollars!”

Recently, the Cuban government opened 72 stores where customers can pay only in foreign currency, to alleviate the nation’s deep financial liquidity crisis. From the island, many activists have denounced that the authorities have moved the products that were traditionally available in CUC to the dollar-only stores, leaving the popular markets short of supplies.

For Margarita, a Güines resident who saw the birthday video on the Hola Otaola program, “the most worrying thing is not the dollars, but a party in the middle of a pandemic.”

“We don’t know where she got the dollars from. She is a leader but she also has family abroad. What left me cold is that a leader organized such a party with the epidemiological situation in the country, when they have asked all of us to” social distance and wear masks, he said.

The 36-year-old woman asked not to reveal her last name for fear of reprisals, but said she felt “happy” that these types of videos were released.

“The place is falling to pieces and nobody cares. They [the leaders] have everything, even dollars to buy in the convertible currency stores. We, those of us who work, only have the [ration book] quota and a miserable salary that it is not enough for anything,” she lamented.


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