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CUBA NEWS WEEK ENDING MAY 10, 2020

Food is the big issue in Cuba during the coronavirus pandemic. Many grocery stores have been shut-down, consumers are only allowed to buy two of any one item, and the result is there are huge crowds, sometimes hundreds of people, standing close together outside the few stores that have coveted items for sale. What are the coveted items? Chicken, laundry detergent, cooking oil, any kind of soda or beer, gelatin, rice, and the one item that is completely unavailable is toothpaste. Bread is also in short supply, with many bakeries closed and lines at the ones that remain open, and most run out of bread before noon. It is a chaotic situation, and the government’s response is to constantly say that more local production of food is necessary, announcing daily arrests of people who are hoarding or stealing food, everything from flour and rice to beans and pork. The government continues to insist on discipline from the people, while that same government controls agricultural production and can’t produce enough to feed the population because of its own incompetence and indiscipline.

The Havana municipality of Central Havana was declared under quarantine on Friday, May 8, 2020. But according to the government’s own spokesman cases have been going down drastically, from a daily average of fifty new cases of COVID-19 a day for about three weeks, to the new number of an average of fifteen cases a day. Why shut-down a large section of the city if your case count is less than half of what it was last week?

Much needed rain arrived towards the end of the week and most of the island saw at least isolated showers.

Frank Gonzalez

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