14ymedio, Madrid, November 13, 2023 — The official press echoed this Sunday the announcement of the opening of a Russian products store in Havana, a project between the RusMarket brand and the state-owned Cimex that had already been advanced eight months ago but now has a tentative date: March 2024.
At that time, Evguéni Meytes, representative of the company, was hired during his visit to Havana on the occasion of the International Fair of Havana (FIHAV), which concluded this Saturday.
“We have very fraternal relations with the Island. The leadership of our country said last year that we had to strengthen mutual ties, and one of the expressions of that consolidation is the opening of this store. We are happy to show here high-quality products for the Cuban market,” he said at the time he announced to Sputnik the opening of the store, which will sell canned meats and vegetables, chocolates, and champagne from the firm Abrau.
To know this information, as well as the probable location of the store, which could be in Yumurí (corner Belascoaín and Carlos III) or in Cuatro Caminos, according to Meytes, you have to read the Moscow press. Cubadebate barely picks up the words of the general director of RusMarket, Alexander Belchikov.
To know this data, as well as the probable location of the store, which could be in Yumurí (corner Belascoaín and Carlos III) or in Cuatro Caminos, according to Meytes, you have to read the Moscow press
“The RusMarket project is intended for the long term and includes the opening of the first Russian product store on the Island, since most of the Cuban population remembers these goods, so we will create a joint venture that will begin to operate before the end of 2023,” he said.
The businessman spoke of a huge range of products that go beyond food, although that would be a second phase that would include spare parts for cars, machinery, construction equipment and materials, appliances, textiles and clothing.
“We want to introduce Russian products into the Cuban market and, in the same way, serve as a gateway to Russia for Cuban products. Our company aims to become a link between the two countries,” said Belchikov, who spoke of the intense relations between the Island and the Eurasian giant, both at the governmental and business level.
But the news lacks the most important thing, in the opinion of the readers, who have rushed to ask for information about the currency in which the products will be sold. “The news is incomplete, as usual. He left out the part about which currency ordinary Cubans will use to be able to purchase these necessary products. In my opinion, I don’t think it’s in CUP (Cuban pesos) but in dollars,” admitted a reader of Cubadebate.
The feeling that there is no other option permeates the dozens of comments, due to past experiences and the reasoning that most of them make about the uselessness of the national currency. “And what are the Russians going to do with the CUP collected? Go to Moscow to buy more merchandise with that money? I don’t think so,” one points out.
“It will have to be in MLC (freely convertible currency), since it is the only way for the supplier to collect their expenses and profits,” another reasoned. “But of course, it’s elementary. Why would RusMarket want to sell in CUP? What are they going to do with the CUP, to continue supplying that market?” asked another.
The rejection of that evidence is present in many other messages that welcome the initiative as long as it’s not in foreign currency, since, as another reader points out: “We are all in need, and we must think about protecting the entire population; otherwise we will not solve anything.” Doubts about whether the store will be a wholesaler or retailer and the indignation that every new opportunity is located in the capital also abound in the comments.
It will have to be in MLC (freely convertible currency), since it is the only way for the supplier to collect their expenses and profits
Russians, meanwhile, are focused on their own business. The event was also attended by Olga Sidorik, export manager of the Ladoga alcoholic beverage group, who highlighted Cuba’s potential as a recipient of those products, thinking about tourism.
“We have many years of friendship, and we believe that we can do good business here. We have not yet established anything, but there are several negotiations planned for this fair. Let’s wait for our return to achieve the realization of some, because there is a lot of potential for the sale of our products,” she told Sputnik.
Between January and October, about 146,305 Russian tourists traveled to Cuba, increasing by 3.5 times the number of travelers in the same period of 2022 according to the Association of Tour Operators of Cuba, which aspires to recover figures prior to the pandemic, such as the 178,000 received in 2019. However, already that year a shift of travelers to other destinations such as the Dominican Republic began to be noticed, with a similar offers but more benefits than the – increasingly – impoverished Island.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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