14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 10 May 2019 — The so-called “challenges” that abound in social networks are reaching Cuba. One of the first to land on the national scene was the Ice Bucket Challenge (involving dumping a bucket of ice water over your head) to raise awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease with a fatal prognosis. Recently, the Trash Challenge succeeded in getting dozens of citizens to start cleaning beaches, illegal dumps and the banks of several rivers.
However, the first one hundred percent Cuban challenge was born just a few weeks ago. #LaColaChallenge (“cola” means “line”) mixes complaints to and criticism of the authorities with humor and a desire to narrate the Cuban reality. It is a call to portray the long lines to buy food that, in recent months, have become an everyday event on this island.
Thus, Facebook and Twitter have begun to fill with images taken by passers-by who see dozens of people waiting to get some milk powder, selfies in the line to buy frozen chicken, or annoyed customers relating that they spent three hours in line at the market to get one liter of vegetable oil.
The real challenge this hashtag represents is living in a collapsed society and in an economy in permanent crisis. The challenge is not to stand in the line, but to buy something.
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