A Cuban mother’s difficult quest to find milk for her one-year-old child

Of all the harsh things individuals endure living under communist tyranny, watching their children suffer is perhaps the worst. That is a common daily occurrence for parents in Cuba. Feeling the effects of 65 years of socialist revolution that have left store shelves empty, they must take to the streets every day to find enough food to feed their children, This is socialism in action.

Via CiberCuba (my translation):

A Cuban mother’s odyssey to buy milk for her one-year-old child

The struggles and hardships Cuban mothers go through to provide milk for their children were exposed by a journalist from the newspaper Juventud Rebelde.

The chronicle by journalist Osviel Castro Medel details the experience of a mother with a one-year-old child who, despite her efforts, could not buy a bag of powdered milk at a small business in Bayamo.

The woman left early in the morning to go to Cadeca to be among the first in line to withdraw money, but her sacrifice was in vain because there was no connection at the location. Desperate from the wait, she decided to go to the bank; there, after another long queue, she was able to withdraw 3,000 pesos from her account.

She quickly went to a small business located on Martí Street, where there were bags of powdered milk weighing 900 grams for 2,250 pesos. But when she tried to pay with the 10-peso bills she had received at the bank, the vendor told her he did not accept small bills.

In response, she asked him to wait for her, as she would go change her money for larger bills. She achieved her goal, but upon returning, the man had already sold the milk.

Upon arriving at her workplace, her colleagues confirmed that small businesses only accept large bills and that some even sell only from a certain amount.

The journalist from Juventud Rebelde recounts that the woman thought about how many Cubans go through these same hardships daily, “which do not arise from external factors”.

What caught her attention the most was the attitude of the vendor, “who didn’t even make the slightest effort for her to go home with a few grams of milk for a child who knows nothing about concepts of scarcity, low production, the global market, banking, small businesses, or irregularities in distribution,” she denounced.

The scarcity of food in Cuba has reached such a point that the government had to seek support from the United Nations World Food Program for the supply of powdered milk for children under seven years old.

According to the state-run media website Cubadebate, “in the coming days, a ship from Brazil, with 375 tons” of powdered milk will arrive in Havana.

Following the multitude of criticisms from Cuban mothers about the delay in distributing milk for children, the regime announced that it is seeking alternatives with small businesses to buy their milk and incorporate it into the basic basket.

This was revealed by the Minister of Internal Trade, Betsy Díaz Rodríguez, who admitted that children from six months to two years old have not received milk since February 5th, and that in some provinces, the dairy product has had to be replaced by syrup.

Milk production in Cuba has declined so much that it is even lower than during the toughest years of the Special Period, as shown by a graph shared by economist Pedro Monreal, comparing the levels reached in those years with those from 2017 to 2022.

At this moment, a bag of milk costs more than the minimum wage (set at 2,100 pesos after the Ordering), and twice as much as pensions, which range between 1,528 and 1,733 pesos.

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