Years after the collapse of the USSR, Cuba remains a bastion of communism, central planning… and shortages of basic goods.
I am not surprised that there are empty shelves in Cuba. I am surprised to be reading such things on the BBC.
despite Cuba’s proximity to the US, Washington’s 50-year-old trade embargo – which was designed to squeeze this island’s communist government from power – means there’s no American investment here. There’s no Starbucks, no Coca-Cola plant.
Some might see that as a good thing. But they might not find shopping for essentials quite so quaint. I once approached my big local supermarket full of optimism. I now know I’m likely to find a mixture of half-bare shelves and ones stacked with a single product: cheap ketchup, say, or adult incontinence pads.
Basic items disappear whenever Cuba struggles to meet its import bills. For weeks there was no toilet paper or cartons of milk. Now even the delicious local coffee is “lost,” as Cubans say – “esta perdido”.
Mind you there’s plenty of “partridge in brine,” should anyone fancy that. I’ve seen the same pile of cans on display for more than two years at $25 apiece. Perhaps a central planner ticked the wrong order box.
The story is even promoted from other stories under the banner “in today’s magazine”.