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CUBA NEWS WEEK ENDING APRIL 12, 2020

Cuba’s 14,000 commercial fishing workers were exulted on April 8, 2020, which in Cuba marks the Day of the Commercial Fishing Worker. Cuba’s commercial fishing fleet is practically nonexistent, and I am not sure what these 14,000 workers do or where they do it.

Jose Portal Miranda, Cuba’s minister of health, is a regular on the television, and speaks in a continuous monotone that makes you hope he gets the virus soon and the next minister is a better speaker.

Long lines are everywhere these days, administered and controlled by the police, and it takes hours to buy just a handful of items, most items are now limited to two per person. New measures to protect against the spread of the virus were implemented this week, including a prohibition on the sale of alcohol by non-state retailers. Rum and cigarettes are the only products that are freely available.

On Tuesday prime minister Marrero announced that all alcohol and food sales going forward would be take-out, and the number of passengers on municipal buses would be limited.

During all this hubbub down here my only question is where is Raul? You would think that as head of the revolutionary Cuban Communist Party, ultimate arbiter of everything in Cuba, he would be front and center motivating his people during the corona-struggle.

The week ended with over five-hundred confirmed cases and twenty deaths. I would guess the actual total at over three thousand cases and over fifty deaths. Remember this is the same government that announced a 1.2% unemployment rate earlier this year, in a country where at least a quarter of the working-age population appears unemployed. Why do I think the numbers are much higher than those given by the government, because the buses are still packed and running all day, the private taxis are packed, sales at the few stores that sell groceries and bread are handled by one person who provides change, handles each piece of bread, gives customers their change without sanitizing their hands between customers, and because Cubans are big-time face touchers, spending many hours a day with a finger in their mouth, nose or eye.

Frank Gonzalez

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