Shortage of Bubbles / Rosa Maria Rodriguez Torrado

Washing powder has been missing from Havana for days. First the cheaper, less fragrant varieties bought by the average Cuban; then the more expensive ones: all washing powders — foreign-made or domestic — seem to have left on the evening train of inefficiency.

The self-employed people who sell goods in different places around the capital city, however, have the same imported washing powder that they usually sell in the state-owned foreign currency collection stores. Now the elderly and the people of all ages who devote their time to selling this product can be happy, since the strong demand for the cleaning agent has brought them higher revenue.

But those of us who, as eager as treasure hunters,go every day from here to there trying to buy groceries and cleaning productswonder about the real reason why private individuals have an imported article and the State doesn’t. Could it be that, once again, they want to take advantage of the oligopoly in order to sell their low-quality product? Or are they planning to increase all prices?

If we’ve had to climb on strange artifacts in order to emigrate and enjoy freedom outside of our homeland; if we’ve had to take part in “acts of repudiation” to insult those who struggle to defend our rights; if we’ve had to shower without soap and clean floors without floor cloths during the Special Period; we can just as well blow bubbles with our mouths, as long as we are able to produce saliva and whisper our fears.

At the end of the day, cleanliness in this model seems to be a mental state, linked to politics since 1959. The rest doesn’t matter.

Translated by: Ada

August 26 2012