We Don’t Buy Anything Here / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 2 November 2016 — In a speech in front
of foreign businessmen at the International Fair of Havana (FIHAV), the
Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca, emphasized the country’s
urgency to receive “high rates of investment.” However, outside the
Expocuba fairgrounds, the speech’s echoes are barely heard and the
informal market continues to set the pace of life.
While the national press talks about a portfolio of opportunities, the
Cuban people immerse themselves in illegality to survive.
“In this building we buy and sell nothing,” reads a sign at the entrance
to a concrete block with more than 100 apartments located in Havana’s
Plaza district. The warning, placed by the neighbor’s council in
collaboration with the Communist Party militants, fails to stop the
sellers who knock on families’ doors offering everything from eggs to
small appliances. Now, they just have to do it with more discretion.
The official rhetoric is having a love affair with foreign investors,
whom it wants to convince that the island is a good place to build an
industry, run a hotel or produce cigarettes, but within the country, the
local entrepreneur is viewed with suspicion by the authorities. With the
outlawing of selling imported clothing and footwear, the capping of
prices in agricultural markets or the recent end to the issuance of
licenses for private restaurants, many small businesses have turned to
the illegal networks to offer their products. All that’s left for them
is to go door to door, knock quietly and offer their merchandise.
Source: We Don’t Buy Anything Here / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata –
Translating Cuba –