The Cuban Government Used to Praise the Business Whose Owner is Now in Detention

Fernando Javier Albán founded the successful ’mipyme’ [micro, small, or medium enterprise] Media Luna, linked to the former Minister of Economy
14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 11 March 2024 — On March 3rd, while one of the owners of the Media Luna ’mipyme’*, Fernando Javier Albán, was supposedly arrested for corruption or about to be, Cuba’s Vice Minister for Food Industry, Orlando Borrero, visited the agroindustrial company in Ciego de Ávila and went out of his way to praise the juice and preserves producer, for its technology as well as the quality and capacity of its production and health and safety of the work. “We need many Media Luna,” he insisted.

Despite having its production paralyzed while an audit was conducted, workers remains at the company’s facilities, as documented on their social media with abundant photos. Media Luna’s Facebook, X and Instagram accounts and even LinkedIn showed the hyperactivity of the mipyme, wehether it was receiving a visit from the authorities, pariticipating in an event as the juice purveyor for the tourism industry or treating its employees to a copious luncheon on March 8th, International Women’s Day.

According to journalist Mario Pentón of El Nuevo Herald, Albán was arrested around the time former Minister of Economy, Alejandro Gil Fernández, was relieved of his duties; he is now under investigation for unknown crimes, though the state-run press insinuates corruption. Sources close to the businessman have reported to the daily that the Cuban authorities are investigating whether Gil benefitted personally from his relationship with Albán.

“The company has not been shut down, but sales are paralyzed by an audit following the arrest of Albán and those closest to him”

“The company has not been shut down, but sales are paralyzed by an audit following the arrest of Albán and those closest to him,” an administrator who manages procurement for the tourist zone confirmed to 14ymedio.

Media Luna was founded on October 18, 2021 as a medium sized enterprise and grew in very short period of time, becoming the exclusive supplier of the hotel sector in the Northern Cays. The brand also has a point of sale, La Casa del Jugo, and a litany of praises from the state-run press, which led many to believe he benefitted from his good relations with the authorities.

According to El Nuevo Herald, Alejandro Gil intervened to obstruct an investigation of the medium-sized enterprise, which aimed to prove that its success was genuine.

Be that as it may, the state-run press had nothing but praise for it. In 2022, Bohemia magazine visited its facilities and was stunned that meeting its commitments, including loans, resulted in “good things for the population and for Cuba.” These “things” were repairs to a rural school, a medical office and a local shop, in addition to opening a point of sale in a provincial hospital, with reasonable prices.

“Why?” they asked. “Because we are Cuban, because we are grateful. Because this is our country, because we remember and because we want the best for everyone,” responded Néstor Proveyer Ugando, another partner of the mipyme.

Translator’s note: “mipyme” is generally MSME in English, for Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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