Column: The Dollar determines the everyday life of the Cubans

It was still early in the Morning, as the first tensioned customer stood in front of the special foreign exchange shops in a queue. At the beginning of this wee

Column: The Dollar determines the everyday life of the Cubans

It was still early in the Morning, as the first tensioned customer stood in front of the special foreign exchange shops in a queue. At the beginning of this week, you started currencies, with the sale of food and hygiene products against foreign. After months of a profound shortage in the shops of the country, dozens of Cubans entered the cabinets of these new shops with full shelves and crowded cooling, in which you can only pay in dollars, euros or other foreign currencies with magnetic cards.

disbelief was the first reaction, as in the independent press, the news was leaked that the government intended to allow the operation of new shops, where citizens can buy groceries with a currency other than the Cuban. Later, as President, Miguel Díaz-confirmed Canel the rumors, there was a wave of indignation, which grew to the extent that new Details are known.

It is a new trench across the economic life of the people on the island: On the one hand, those who receive their salaries in Cuban Pesos, and on the other those who have relatives abroad, you can transfer money are available.

An enemy that stands still in the centre of the propaganda war, but the banknotes have now become a lifeline and support for Cuba's failed economic model. The party leaders who boast so much of the national sovereignty, had been defeated by the reality: The money is worthless colored paper, and only the green dollar bills will allow you to continue on your soft government benches to make wide, up to you the linen shirts at the belly button burst open.

the distrust of the population is growing

Now that you are forced to put their hopes abroad, which they have denounced for long, grab it again to promises. You need to insure that the income from the foreign exchange shops will enable them to supply other state shops, where with Pesos will be paid. But the distrust of the population is not so easy to remove.

On the streets of Cuba, you know that the Dollar supplanted the local currency completely. He is the pillar of the black market, has a leading role in the informal transactions, and excludes a large part of the population of the island of the purchasing power.

The percentage of the population can go shopping in these new stores, is still difficult to predict. The number of state magnetic cards, used to purchase products in these stores, topped at the end of last year to 15,000, and reached in the last few months, only a tiny fraction of a population of 11 million inhabitants. The number of Cuban emigrants, however, exceed two millions, and a good portion of them send Remittances to the island.

Alone in the year 2018, the Cubans received $ 6.6 billion (€5.7 billion) as Goods or in cash from abroad, such as the US-based company The Havana Consulting reported. A part of this money is likely to be included in the national accounts, together with the income from the foreign missions of the thousands of health care professionals or the Goods imported by travellers (the so-called "mules") for resale on the informal market.

Excluded

However, the dissemination of the Dollars that come through personal effort, or money Transfers to the island, is still limited. Outside of the Radius of all state employees without family members abroad, pensioners without migrant children, all of which have no company to collect you Bank allows notes with the likeness of Abraham Lincoln or Benjamin Franklin. For the in a foreign currency, the products sold are virtually unattainable.

The shampoo bottles, the beef, the rich selection of canned goods, the cereals for all age groups, with a different sausage, good coffee, olive oil, dry fruits, the sauces, the dishes, the noodles in all different shapes, the yogurt and the longed-for milk, which will be exhibited in the shelves of these shops, are within a thousand light-years from these hands.

As the customers filled the car at the beginning of the week, your shopping, at the checkout, they came over and with a magnetic card and a foreign currency is paid, they marked a clear nick that everyone knows in Cuba, when and how he got started, he tears open the rifts in the society, and its long-term consequences can hardly imagine someone.

author: Yoani Sánchez

*The contribution of "column: The Dollar determines the everyday life of the Cubans," published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 24 July 2020, 08:26

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