The Thieves in a Havana Ration Store Had No Luck: The Rice Had Not Arrived

The bodega (ration store) is located at the corner of Pocito and 10th Street.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, 26 January 2024 — The neighbors woke up on Friday in the Lawton section of Havana to the news that the bodega (ration store) at Pocito and 10th Streets had been robbed at dawn.  The thieves had not properly done their research, however.  Nidia, a local resident, told 14ymedio that the shipment of rice scheduled for January “had not yet arrived. Besides they weren’t able to take all the loot. They left part of it behind on the porch.”

Although typically there is little traffic in the area, this morning it was full of police cars, a “canine” unit, and uniformed officers “who went door-to-door asking for identification documents in all the neighboring houses,” according to this woman.  “I wanted to take a picture of the storefront to post on Facebook, but the police wouldn’t let anyone get close.”

Another neighborhood resident said “The dog got as far as an apartment building, but there he lost the scent.  I don’t know if they were fools, they sensed someone might surprise them, or the transportation they planned to use failed, because they left part of the loot behind in the porch of the bodega,” he added.

Rather than express worry or annoyance at the police opration and the visits by officers, the neighbors were scornful of the robbery.  “One has to be clueless to attempt a robbery at that store, which is emptier than my refrigerator at home,” joked someone who said he had to buy “all the rice for January on the free marketplace at 170 pesos per pound” because the monthly quota of this product had not arrived at the bodega on Pocito Street.

“The dog got as far as an apartment building, but there he lost the scent”

He added “We were lucky, if one can call it that.  It would have been much worse if the thieves had come after the rice had been delivered.  That would have really hurt.”

The  basic items in the ration basket for January have been inconsistently distributed in the capital city of Havana.  While some areas have received a few pounds of rice from time to time, at the corner store of Pocito and 10th Streets, this high-demand item had not yet arrived.

So there are very few items of food left in this store, especially those intended for prescribed diets or children under seven.  A customer joked “The mice in this store would be better off if they moved to the hardware store, where they could at least eat nuts and bolts.”

The severe shortages in Cuba have led to a wave of robberies in food stores. This past June, thieves entered the store at H Street between 13th and 15th in El Vedado, Havana.  They took all the rice they could find and a portion of the sugar destined for the basic rations for the month.

During the first eight months last year, ten bodegas in the Sancti Spiritus province were robbed.  The thieves entered the stores violently, breaking down doors, windows and roofs, according to statements made to the press by Ariel Fernandez, who is in charge of commerce for the province.

Translated by MCN

Note from site manager: Thank you “MCN”… this is a lovely, and very accurate, translation and we hope you will continue to translate!


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