For students in Camagûey, the paradise promised by the glorious socialist revolution in Cuba feels a lot more like living in a sty where they are fed pig feed. While foreign tourists and the elite members of the Cuban Communist Party get to eat gourmet food, regular Cubans are fed slop, when they’re lucky enough to get anything at all. All pigs in socialist Cuba are equal, except some pigs are more equal than others.
‘Pig feed’: The food being served to students at an athletics school in Camagûey
Students from the “Cerro Pelado” Sports Initiation School (EIDE) in Camagüey are denouncing the poor quality of the food they receive at this educational center.
Several students, who preferred to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisals, told CubaNet that since the beginning of the school year, they’ve been given food that is like “pig feed.”
“A bit of tasteless soup water, a ladle of dirty rice, and poorly seasoned shredded fish were our lunch today [Wednesday, October 18], followed by having to train under the sun the whole afternoon,” complained one of the students.
“This menu only varies in the main course: fish with a bad smell or bologna, whether for lunch or at night. As for the necessary proteins for our metabolism, there are none,” they added.
Furthermore, the athletes mentioned that the amount of food is very small and poorly prepared. “It’s a misery, we’re left hungry: a boiled egg for breakfast, and in the afternoon snack, a glass of sugarless and warm quince juice. They canceled dinner.”
Adding to this difficult situation are athletes from other municipalities who receive scholarships and, due to transportation issues, distance, and limited economic resources, can’t travel home every day and neither do they have the possibility of someone bringing them prepared food.
However, the students argue that when a national inspection or visit takes place at the center, the situation changes completely. “On that day, there are no complaints about the offerings in the dining hall: chicken, rice and beans, salad, ice cream, yogurt. Breakfast, snack… and there’s even dinner. At the dining hall entrance, they put a man with a notebook so you can say if you liked the food.”
“Not all of us have the resources to spend 100 pesos on a snack or 160 pesos on ground peanuts in a day of classes and training to get enough calories into our bodies; some of us faint,” another interviewed student expressed.
“If they’re going to close the school, let them close it, but with hunger and without comprehensive attention to the athletes, there won’t be a good sports future in Cuba,” they concluded.
According to a note published by the official newspaper Adelante in August 2023, the provincial director of Education in the region at that time, Mercedes Escuredo Olazábal, stated a few days before the start of the current school year: “We have had great support from all entities, who have backed us in finding alternatives and solutions to the difficulties identified in order to start the school year with a decent and respectable school to prepare tomorrow’s men.”
Currently, the reality is different. Schools are not as “decent” or “respectable.” Reports from families and students about the shortage of teaching materials, poor classroom conditions, a deficit of teachers, and the dismal food situation flood social media.