Lines, Cops and High Prices on Havana’s Malecon

Cuban authorities set up food stalls on the Malecon on Saturday, which were open until nighttime. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 21 November 2021 — With recorded music broadcast at full volume and under the surveillance of numerous members of the Ministry of the Interior and the Revolutionary Armed Forces, the authorities of Havana set up food stalls on the Malecón this Saturday, which were open until nighttime.

Several ambulances and military vehicles deployed throughout the area, accompanied the panorama, while drinks and food were sold at kiosks at high prices.

“We have only got fat, nothing else!” Complained a man who, together with his wife, bought several boxes of food to take away, with rice, cassava and some pieces of pork. “This is pure butter,” he insisted.

At various points on the Malecón, small boxes with chicken or pork were sold that included a garnish of rice and a meal, priced at 150 pesos (6 dollars at the official exchange rate). One could also find canned drinks and soft drinks at high prices.

The assistants ran from one place to another each time a vehicle arrived to stock the tents where the food was sold. Some people, perched on the Monument to the Victims of the Battleship Maine, waited for hours for an anticipated ice cream truck, which never arrived.

The most popular kiosks were the ones that had breads and sweets for sale and where the long lines lasted until the stroke of nine o’clock at night when a heavy downpour dispersed the crowd as well as the law enforcement officers.

“Look at this! Such a long line and drenched in in water to buy these teeth-breaking torticas (shortbread cookies) you can’t even eat!” lamented a woman who took shelter from the untimely rain in the portal of Coppelita.

Several ambulances and military vehicles deployed throughout the area, accompanied the scene. (14ymedio)

At the end of October, the capital authorities announced that “Have fun on the Malecón,” as they call this type of fair, was going to be held until November 16, however, the date has been extended after the opposition group Archipiélago announced it would maintain its call for protests until November 27.

A few yards from the shoreline, away from the hustle and bustle, at 23 y L, the Yara cinema was showing the feature film Cuentos de un día más, the first film co-produced between the state-run Cuban Institute of Art and Cinematographic Industry (Icaic) and collectives from independent creation. The film, coordinated by director Fernando Pérez, brings together six stories that try to reflect part of the reality of today’s Cuba.

The reopening of cinemas, theaters and cultural centers is part of the framework that the Cuban Government developed to open the country to tourism as of November 15, alleging a decrease in cases of covid-19 and that a large percentage of the population has been vaccinated.


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