Talking Prices in Cuba, Who is the Greatest Abuser?
I haven’t been watching Cuban TV for a while. Exceptions being the weather forecast on the Noticiero Nacional, the comedy show Vivir del cuento or an interesting documentary broadcast on Multivision.
Recently, for the sake of turning on Multivision, my TV opened up on the Hacemos Cuba show, a program which I hate, quite frankly, because of the way it manipulates facts and the avalanche of lies that it normally shows. However, they were talking about an issue that caught my attention, which is quite old but still relevant today: Resellers.
This time, the usual host was accompanied by a journalist. During the short time I was able to stand being in front of the TV, they showed a text conversation between two people.
One pretended to be a reseller. They were promoting their products, including tubes of Perla toothpaste for 5 CUC, the equivalent of 125 CUP, which is really expensive. After displaying an interest in the merchandise, the other person refused to buy anything saying that it was too expensive for them, to which the reseller justified himself by saying that they themselves had to pay a lot for it and that if there were sufficient supplies in stock then nobody would have to go to private sellers like him, that it wasn’t his fault.
This was followed by the program’s hosts attacking him and every other hoarder, who they accused of not having any ethical values such as solidarity, dignity and humanity.
They also talked about police operations that have been carried out against these low-lifes, and the need for greater punishment against speculators.
Without exonerating these people who are the result of need and poverty, it has become clear to me that these statements are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the abuse and helplessness that our people suffer when in comes to prices and basic essentials. These resellers are just a consequence.
The program only touched upon the surface of the issue. Its hosts can’t dig a little further, they have been banned from reaching the source of the problem.
Many questions have been left unanswered, or better yet, many realities are still not being reported.
How can you explain new well-stocked stores selling in US dollars appearing overnight, amidst severe shortages, which was justified before by the Covid-19 pandemic and Trump coming down harder with the “blockade”?
How can you justify donations being sent from abroad then being resold by the State for 10 times the price of the transport costs?
Why is it that in any retail store in the country – be that in USD, CUC or CUP – a backpack, pair of pants or shoes (just to give you three examples) costs a worker’s monthly wages or isn’t even enough to buy one of them?
Who is the first one to impose abusive prices on the population? Who is the greatest abuser?