Thousands of Cuban State Workers Have Not Been Paid for the Month of July

Cuba is facing a liquidity crisis, which has led the government to limit cash withdrawals. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 4 August 2023 — The lack of cash has left thousands of state workers without the salaries they are owed for July, according to a note published this Friday by the newspaper Venceremos. In Guantanamo alone, the Central Workers Union (CTC) reports that 6,270 employees have not received payment, in addition to another 600 from the business system of forestry and construction services.

The provincial newspaper collected testimonies from employees who in recent days have had to borrow, delay payments for basic services or postpone vacations due to the cash deficit at Banco de Crédito y Comercio (Bandec). One of these cases is Milagros Savón, who, after depleting her family savings, had to borrow from three people with the “promise” of payment when she receives her July salary as a teacher.

Savón told the newspaper that the money was enough but barely for “the monthly shopping,” the payment of electricity and telephone bills, and the purchase of “a few pounds of chicken to appease the herd of grandchildren on vacation.” The teacher also referred to colleagues who lost the tickets for vacations they had bought “months ago” and “others who have not even been able to go to the park with their children.”

Yadisnay Collada González, also a teacher in the province, complained to the newspaper about not receiving the attention that, according to her, they deserve after the schools are empty of teachers due to the migratory exodus. “Only those of us who really feel love are left,” she said.

“This time the record for lateness was broken,” added a teacher, whose name was not provided, from the Emma Rosa Chui School in the city of Guantánamo. The man fears the worst when “they pay with a magnetic card.”

The cash shortage has been acute for weeks. The situation broke out this Wednesday, with the announcement of a package of measures that the Government promotes for “banking”  and that limits banking operations for all economic actors to a maximum of 5,000 pesos per day, and prohibits companies from withdrawing money from the ATMS.

“What do they tell us? That there is no money in the banks, but the explanation does not help us. People are very upset, and there are those who do not want to work,” Jorge Ferrer, an employee of Guantanamo Community Services, complained to Venceremos .

From the capital to the most remote towns on the island, the crisis affects all Cuban families. A prominent health professional in the municipality of Mayarí, Holguín, told 14ymedio annoyed that she was finally able to collect her salary, but in smaller denominations. “Do you see that bag over there? That big bundle. That’s my salary, in five-peso bills,” she said, pointing to a briefcase.

Anticipating that the crisis would worsen, another resident of the area narrated that recently he also withdrew the last 5,000 pesos that he had in the electronic account and the ATM handed out only 10-peso-denomination bills.

Idania Gutiérrez, a professor at the University of Guantánamo, is one of the few public employees who received her salary on time, but for her it is as if she had not been paid, because there is no money in the ATMs and businesses do not accept transfers either.

Emnier Savón Cotilla, a member of the Guantánamo CTC, assured that the payment of salaries “is being fulfilled little by little, depending on the cash that is entering the banks.” He assured that the delay is not due to a lack of budget, but exclusively to Bandec’s liquidity which, in addition to salaries, in July had to pay vacations in the education sector to more than 28,300 workers.

The number of employees without their salary is “constantly moving,” he said. On July 31, 5,120 educators were unpaid, and a day later it dropped to 1,200. For the Culture sector, the “relief has been a little slower” and until this Tuesday the payment to 3,000 employees had not yet been made, 62% of the 4,800 on the payroll.

Savón Cotilla recognized that payment through cards is not the solution if the worker cannot access their money. “We’d just be changing the problem,” he said.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.