U.S. Pears for Sale in Cuba, but Only to Those with Hard Currency
Plump, clean, green pears were for sale on Monday at Galerias Paseo de El Vedado, a hard currency store in Havana, for $0.90. One surprised customer’s face said it all when saw the sticker indicating the fruit’s origin. “American pears in Havana?” she asked the store clerk as she pondered the product. “Yes, yes,” he said. “They’re very good. Nice and sweet.”
The woman, a fifty-year-old who has lived with the U.S. embargo her entire life, asked incredulously, “Can these be imported under the blockade?”
The pears were of the Anjou variety, grown in Oregon and Washington and distributed by CMI Orchards, one of the latter state’s largest producers.
In spite of their high price, the customer could not resist and decided to buy five. “I hope they’re worth it considering how expensive they are,” she sighed as she wandered off with a full shopping bag.
The government as well as official media outlets routinely blame the U.S. “blockade” for all the island’s economic woes without ever mentioning that the country can import American food as well as medicines as long as it pays for them in cash. In fact, the United States is Cuba’s largest supplier of chickens.