The raid against street-cart vendors selling fruits and vegetables launched in Havana last week by the government is causing unease among large sectors of the population. Most affected by the restrictions are those who find in this commercial alternative a chance to buy food in their own neighborhoods and streets, far from agricultural markets.
For the elderly, people with disabilities or families with small children, the ability to buy fruits and vegetables “on their doorstep” has been very popular in recent years, despite high prices. In a clear strategy of “cutting off their nose to spite their face,” the authorities have decided to combat high food prices through maximum restrictions on intermediaries and street vendors.
The scene of a group of people protesting when police demand to see his papers and confiscate the merchandise from a street-cart vendor, as shown in this video that has come into our hands, says a lot about the unpopular measures of control the government has adopted against private vendors; and it also highlights the shortages of food products Cuban society is suffering today.
In the images posted on YouTube under the pseudonym SomosdeCuba (We are Cuban), the police harass street vendors selling fresh food. People start to gather and shout: “Abusers,” and then in a chorus yell “Food! Food! Food!” Finally the vendors start giving away their products rather than let the police confiscate them.