‘Surprises’, a Havana Store Selling in Dollars With Nothing to Sell

The Sorpresas (Surprises) store in the Carlos III Plaza in Central Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 20 December 2021 — “Without surprises and without coffee, we’re doing fine!” a man complained sarcastically on Monday morning, having come to the Sorpresas (Surprises) store in Carlos III Plaza in Central Havana, in search of a packet of coffee to take home.

The establishment, specializing in selling Cubita brand merchandise, was closed with empty counters and shelves. The store, which only takes payment in freely convertible currency (MLC), did not have any notice on its door about the reason for the closure, but there was no sign of coffee at the site.

“Last week at least you could buy the beans to grind at home, now there isn’t even that,” lamented another a customer at the entrance of the establishment.

At first things seemed to be going well at Sorpresas, when it first opened its doors about a year ago, but in recent months it has frequently suffered from shortages. This week it has hit rock bottom with the total closure of the place and without any products on display in the windows.

The Cuba-Café Company reported earlier this month on delays in the arrival of imports and also in deliveries by the coffee-bean processing entities. In regulated commerce — the ration stores — the distribution of coffee for the month of December has already begun, while the precious powder has disappeared even from the foreign exchange stores.


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