Saturday, September 27, 2014

Cuba’s Financial Headaches

Cuba's Financial Headaches
September 26, 2014
Rosa Martínez

HAVANA TIMES — It's clear not all Cubans have the same economic
situation, but what's certain is that the vast majority have salaries
that last them a mere 8 to 10 days (counting basic food products), and
that, the remaining 20 days of the month, they have to what I do: work
miracles to acquire essential products.

Though no one in Cuba is starving, providing a family with the three
fundamental meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) is a real headache,
particularly for those of us who work in the State sector and have no
access to Cuban or other hard currencies.

Yesterday was one of those days in which I awoke to find we didn't even
have enough grains to throw together some rice and beans, one of Cuba's
most common meals – not only because it is easy to make, but because it
is the cheapest (or used to be).

The situation was serious, but not too serious, because I had 50 pesos
at hand – 50 regular pesos, don't think for a moment they were CUCs.

Fifty Cuban pesos (around two US dollars) isn't much, not even in Cuba,
my readers will likely say, and they will be right – but it's better
than nothing, right? It would be worse to have no food and absolutely no

I went out to get some food with this small fortune in hand. My older
daughter was coming home early from school and I had to have lunch ready.

I did the math to see what the most economic and productive option was.
After adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing a few times, I gave
up. The money was just enough to buy two pounds of rice (10 pesos), two
pounds of beans (30 pesos), two and a half pounds of cassava (5 pesos)
and two avocados (5 pesos).

So many calculations gave me a splitting headache. I felt the world
spinning around me, like after one comes down from a ride at an
amusement park.

I had solved the big problem, and my head understood this well, but,
since it's smarter than I am, it still ached, because it knew that I
would be facing the same problem in two days' time.

Source: Cuba's Financial Headaches - Havana -

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