Reports from Cuba: Are we living in a new Special Period?

Pedro Pablo Morejon writes in Havana Times:

Are We Living in a New Special Period?

An old classmate from pre-university was arguing with me about the so-called “Special Period” years. According to him, we’re much worse off now.

I remember that back then, he had a more favorable situation. His father was a well-to-do man thanks to his high-ranking position as a regional leader, and maybe he barely felt the effects of those years.

Philosophy isn’t normally a subject that I believe in as it’s just ideas, goes against Science that puts his hypotheses in the field of experimentation, but if one thing is real in philosophy it’s this phrase that goes: “a man thinks as he lives” (which by the way is attributed to Karl Marx).

This is something that can be proved and as a result, is accurate. It must be the reason he thinks this way and not because of the facts of reality today when he has none of those privileges anymore.

Yet, there are details that could prove him right, including one that we’ve been seeing for over a year. The Regime can’t even guarantee the population its meagre “basic rations”.

A few days ago, when looking up his answers about the current situation, I came across an article by Cubadebate called “Interior Commerce announcement on the rationed family food basket in July.”

In this typical article, the Ministry of Interior Commerce doesn’t explain the reason for shortages of rationed products, but it does claim the following:

“… sales of expected products, beginning on the 1st with rice and sugar, in instalments in different regions, which will be made up over the month, with supplies available across the country…”

Also “…distribution of salt and split chickpeas and recovering delays in the selling of coffee and cooking oil in May, slowly, depending on deliveries from Industry.” All of them depend upon the domestic industry’s availability, among other things.

At the end of the day, this article is a real reflection of extreme poverty nationwide, where a hungry and miserable people are waiting, with passion bordering on delirium, for the subsidized quotas that the benefactor and savior State gives them, even though it isn’t enough to feed them for a week.

The reality is that the fact that they can’t even guarantee this anymore reflects the harsh times we’re living in, which are just as hard as the ones we suffered in the early ‘90s.

A situation that could be easily resolved if the regime moved towards a democracy with a market economy, where Cubans, free from redtape, could develop their inventiveness and ingenuity which they’ve already shown, not only in the most pleasant places they emigrate to in the world, but also in Cuba, where despite its poor governments still couldn’t conceive the tragedy that would sink in completely after 1959.

Up until the moment of writing this article, only three pounds of rice and one pound of sugar has come into the bodega ration store in my neighborhood. Maybe my former classmate is right.

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