11,000 Stolen Uniforms Are In The Black Market / 14ymedio, Rosa Lopez
Posted on August 29, 2015
14ymedio, Rosa Lopez, Havana, 28 August 2015 — Every summer national
television calls on us to save electricity, reports the high
temperatures and disseminates statements by officials of the Ministry of
Education in which they assure us that school uniforms are
guaranteed. However, year after year, complaints about deficient
supplies and problems with the sizes of these garments return to inflame
On this occasion the sale started in the capital on May 25 and will
extend to December 31. According to prime time news, "The industry did
its part and fulfilled the order for 699,000 garments," for Havana's
students. However, beginning in the first half of July, the uniforms
began to "go missing."
"I spent a week looking for a girl's skirt, but all I find are huge
sizes," says Caridad, the mother of a little girl who will enter first
grade this year. "They told me the only place that has any left is the
store on Dolores Street in Lawton. So I will go there," says a
determined but otherwise exhausted mother.
Among the reasons for such a poor offering is the pilfering of more than
11,000 elementary, polytechnic and high school uniforms from the
wholesale warehouses, according to a report that appeared Wednesday
night on national television.
So far the authorities have not specified if the perpetrators of the
robbery have been arrested, but the informal market shows all the
evidence of having received a large assortment.
"I have all sizes of uniforms," an illegal vendor boasted Tuesday on
the outskirts of La Cuevita, a known enclave for everything one needs to
buy under the table. You just have to follow her to a nearby shack for
her to show you the merchandise. There are blouses and skirts for girls
in elementary school, a complete set for boys, and also junior high
uniforms. They sell for 100 Cuban pesos (just under $4 US) for each set,
more than ten times the price in State stores.
Manuela, retired from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is blunt, "They
should shoot those engaged in reselling uniforms, because this is very
sensitive because it's about our children." She expressed this opinion
loudly in front of her daughter and two granddaughters, outside the
store at 20 de Mayo and Ayesteran streets, in El Cerro. But the young
woman accompanying her didn't agree with her opinion. "On the contrary,
they should get a medal, because at least they do better than the
State," she opined.
The deficit has forced the provincial trade company to take a series of
measures so that an assortment of the most popular sizes will reach
Havana. "Undress one saint to dress another," quipped a grandmother
accompanied by her seven-year-old granddaughter when she was told to
expect supplies from other provinces.
"Keep checking back every day," an employee told a mother who couldn't
find pants in her son's size at an establishment in Central Havana.
"This woman thinks that I have nothing else to do in my life but to look
for a uniform," she commented to other customers who also left the store
Both the Provincial Education Department and the Provincial Trade
Company have issued a call for calm and promised that in the coming
weeks uniforms will return to fill the state stores, especially the
small sizes. By then, those who have not bought on the black market or
used their seamstress skills to alter a large garment, may have their
Source: 11,000 Stolen Uniforms Are In The Black Market / 14ymedio, Rosa
Lopez | Translating Cuba -