14ymedio, Havana, 8 January 2024 — For the third consecutive year, the distribution of the ration books in Cuba is delayed. The reason is the same again: the lack of paper to make them. In some neighborhoods of Havana, the distribution has been intermittent. In Luyanó, in the municipality of Diez de Octubre, they have arrived, but in other areas, such as Cayo Hueso, in Central Havana, they have not.
They had already warned Olga in December, when, after losing the document on the street, she had to go and renew it from her corresponding Office of the Consumer Registry. “The employee told me not to worry because they weren’t going to give out the books anyway,” the old woman tells 14ymedio. “She didn’t know if it was going to be in January, in February or if it would actually happen, because they were ’very late.’”
In Nuevo Vedado, a municipality of the Plaza de la Revolución, the ration store clerk told his customers that “it will arrive next month.” Meanwhile, they are writing down the orders on the January sheet of the 2023 ration book. “For the little they give, there is plenty of paper,” Roberto, a resident of the place, protests with sarcasm.
Although the panorama is similar in other provinces – they have not given out the ration books in Sancti Spíritus, in Mayabeque, in Villa Clara, in Santiago de Cuba or in Holguín, to mention some examples that this newspaper has been able to confirm – only the government of Matanzas has pronounced itself on the matter.
The solution proposed by the officials while they replenish stocks is the one proposed by the ration store clerk of Nuevo Vedado, which coincides with last year’s proposal and that of the previous year
“From the State Directorate of Commerce in Matanzas it is reported that financial limitations caused a delay in the import of the raw material for the fabrication of the ration books, which resulted in too much of a delay in their printing and distribution to make the changes for the 2024 ration books,” the agency acknowledged this Sunday on Facebook.
The solution proposed by the officials while they replenish stocks is the one proposed by the ration store clerk of Nuevo Vedado, which coincides with last year’s proposal and that of the previous year: write down the new products in the old ration book.
Tamara Castillo, State director of Commerce in Matanzas, said that the delivery of the documents “will be assumed on a transitory basis” and explained that “once the books for 2024 have been delivered to consumers, the retail establishment must update the annotations in them from the sales made previously,” a process that must be completed before this coming March 30.
The lack of “raw material” for fabricating the ration books has already stopped being surprising, but this year, the uncertainty about rationing lingers on. Among the economic measures announced for 2024 in the second ordinary session of the National Assembly last December, although without a specific date, was the end of the universal subsidy to the basic food basket.
“It’s not fair that those who have a lot receive the same as those who have very little. Today we subsidize the same thing to an old pensioner as to the owners of large private businesses who have a lot of money,” argued the Prime Minister of the Island, Manuel Marrero.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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