Red Beans Have Become a Luxury in Cuba

From the basic basket, it’s the red beans that have risen the most in price, costing 500 pesos per pound at the beginning of this year / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 March 2024 — A region with a long tradition in the cultivation of rice and beans, the province of Cienfuegos has not been able to honor its agricultural heritage in the face of the inflation that runs through Cuba. Accustomed to dense stews, residents in this area in the center of the Island have had to give up, in recent years, the plate of beans that was so common in their daily diet.

In the basic family basket in the State rationing system, it’s the red beans that have risen the most in price, costing 500 pesos a pound at the beginning of this year. Although this week the legume dropped to 380, its price is still prohibitive for many in Cienfuegos. This newspaper has followed the bean’s journey, and this province has been one of those that illustrates the pace of the rise that the product has experienced in recent years.

The Plaza La Calzada market in the city of Cienfuegos is the main indicator of how the cost of living has escalated. On its wide stands, where customers, sellers and producers gather, the table for beans does not receive as many buyers as before. Red beans are almost always consumed in Cuba accompanied by a piece of meat or sausage, along with numerous spices.

If you want to eat them with rice, currently at 150 pesos per pound in the Plaza La Calzada, then the cost skyrockets. With their attractive red shine, the beans are now a food considered by many as a luxury only for holidays or special occasions. A hot and thick stew can cost retirees a whole week’s pension. From a custom carved out of decades of life, they are the ones who most long for the steamy and aromatic dish on their tables.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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