Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Cuba’s foreign money shakeup deepens its financial woes, by Maïlys Khider (Le Monde diplomatique

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Meals shortage drives costs up: queueing for greens, Havana, 31 March 2023

Adalberto Roque · AFP · Getty

A sudden scuffle on Carlos III Avenue, a big Havana thoroughfare, drowned out the reggaeton from a speaker throughout the road. Round 50 folks have been battling within the excessive warmth to maintain their positions within the queue; some tried to sneak a number of locations forward. Why all of the fuss? They wished to purchase five-packs of perritos (sausages or ‘puppies’ as they’re identified in Cuba) earlier than they ran out. For the previous few years they’ve been a priceless commodity right here.

Miguel. a nuclear engineering professor on the College of Havana, was among the many hopefuls. He informed me, ‘I make 3,700 pesos [approximately $30] a month, and these perritos price 90 pesos. I might need to attend an hour or two. We cope with this daily.’ He opened his buying bag. ‘I’ve simply purchased 500g of rice, some beans, an aubergine, a cucumber, three onions, two chillies and three limes. I paid 968 pesos, 1 / 4 of my wage. That’s barely sufficient for 3 days.’

The world sits within the shadow of Plaza Carlos III, a shopping center with no queue exterior. Inside, a number of folks have been wandering round, previous kids’s points of interest and outlets promoting fragrance, cleansing merchandise and sneakers – at prohibitive costs for many Cubans. The minimal month-to-month wage is round 2,100 pesos ($17): a bottle of shampoo prices 540 pesos ($4.50), a pair of trainers 4,000 ($32) and a bag of detergent 850 ($7).

For 3 years, queues, shortages and inflation have outlined day by day life right here. Rocked by more durable US sanctions, political instability in Venezuela – Cuba’s foremost monetary backer till the mid-2010s – and Covid, the nation goes by one in all its most severe crises in latest reminiscence. When tourism-reliant Cuba needed to shut its borders from April to November 2020, its GDP fell by 11%. And regardless of an uptick in journey this yr (1.6 million visits by the tip of June), the financial system stays in shambles.

On this context, hardly conducive to daring financial strikes, the federal government of President Miguel Díaz-Canel selected to (…)

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