When you own everything and everyone in Cuba, it is not that hard to make money. The Castros have been doing this for decades and they continue to do it today.
It’s good to be the King.
A Million Dollar Business Run by Fidel Castro’s Son
Officials, students, athletes, workers, members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, foreign journalists and even tourists. Almost all have been victims of a flagrant, illicit operation authorized by the Cuban government. It is a business that involves millions, one that the Castro family is not inclined to give up: the production and sale of jerseys worn for non-stop campaigns and political marches.
Allow me to cite two examples.The visual common denominator during the series of tributes the Cuban people paid to Fidel Castro between November 29 and December 4 was a cloud of white T-shirts, some of which were printed with the phrase “I am Fidel.”
Millions of people sporting similar clothing paid their tributes at Havana’s José Martí Memorial, at events in Santiago de Cuba and throughout the tour of the late commandante’s ashes through the island.
The same shirts were seen on January 3 when hundreds of thousands of Havana residents and representatives from the Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces paraded in front of the Plaza of the Revolution during commemorations for the 60th anniversary of the landing of the yacht Granma and Revolutionary Armed Forces Day.
Cuba’s “jersey business” is unquestionably generating millions of dollars.
The Cuban textile industry is engaged in a process of technological revitalization intended to modernize its equipment and expand its capacity.
One beneficiary is the state-owned company Hilatex, which produces and markets towels. Others are companies such as Alquitex, which produces training uniforms for the Armed Forces and Public Health as well as sanitary tissues for expectant mothers.
The Ducal y Boga group is licensed to import fibers, yarns, fabrics made of cotton, polyester and lycra, knitted and woven fabrics, semi-finished articles, threads, clothing accessories, dyes, chemicals, sewing machines, machinery for knitting and other textile-related machinery along with spare parts.
Whether they are commercial in nature or not, all Cuban businesses — and this includes those whose products are handmade — are under a regulatory directive to buy T-shirts from an unnamed producer that nobody wants to talk about.
A source with access to the chain of production of this unique item — one which, like the mathematical constant and irrational number pi, shows up in every government parade and store — informs me that the product is both expensive and of poor quality. Nevertheless, Cuban businesses are obliged to buy them at three dollars per unit, twice its actual cost.
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