Tit for tat.

The US limits cash remittances to Cuba and what does Castro do? Why, first he closes up the dollar stores, the only places on the island where anything of value could be purchased, then he raises prices.

Said one man waiting in line in front of a dollar store:

“The government will raise the price on appliances so that Cubans abroad will have to send more money than they were sending up to now.”


HAVANA, May 12 (Ernesto Roque / www.cubanet.org) – After the government’s
announcement that the prices of some products would increase and the sale of others would be restricted provoked a general feeling of uncertainty, long lines of would-be consumers waited for dollar stores to reopen in the midst of an increased military and police presence in the streets.

“Lines are huge; it’s as if the world were coming to an end,” said Alicia Ortiz, of San Miguel del Padr?n. “They didn’t open the stores until after noon because they were taking inventory, or so they told those of us waiting outside.”

People seemed intent on stocking up in expectation of uncertain times. One woman said she had bought 13 floor mops. “I clean floors for people and I have to make sure I have what I need to work, so I bought 13 mops just in case tomorrow they change their minds again.”

Another woman said: “We have to buy and store what we need, because nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.”

One man said: “Prices are already high; to raise them even more is abusive.”

Another speculated: “The government will raise the price on appliances so that Cubans abroad will have to send more money than they were sending up to now.”

So far, prices have remained stable, although some had gone up recently: chicken, from 2.25 dollars the kilogram to 2.75; and Pomi tomato puree from 2 dollars to 2.65.

The general mood is one of uncertainty. An employee of one of the stores said he had learned of the new government measures on TV, and that when he arrived at work had been told they had to take inventory, and thus the delay in opening.

Many were leery of government statements that more measures would be forthcoming if they became necessary. “Where are we going to end up,” said one man.

On the streets and particularly in front of the stores, police in uniform and military in olive drab were in evidence, with additional police patrols patrolling slowly through the streets.

But not all were despairing. A few retained a Panglossian optimism. “This is for the good of the people,” said one man who also waited