The Line for Ground Catfish

The line outside a fish shop on 25th Street in Vedado to buy claria, a type of catfish.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 4 December 2020 – On Thursday the collection of shops on the ground floor of the Habana Libre hotel in Vedado woke up with line of people outside at the front doors waiting to buy food and other basic necessities. This routine has become more widespread since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

What are people waiting for this time? Is it the missing coffee? The scarce, low-quality bread. Some non-existent medication. A young man answers, “No one knows what they’re selling. I’m here just in case.”

Waiting in line once again sets the tone for the day. At the fish market on 25th Street, also in Vedado, there was another long line to buy ground claria, a type of catfish which some Cubans jokingly call “the national fish.” It was a product considered to be of little value until the growing food shortage began a few months. Now, in the absence of other food options, it is desperately sought after.


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