Holguin's Garayalde Market Reopens with "Free" Prices but Regulated
Sales / 14ymedio, Fernando Donate Ochoa
Posted on January 20, 2016
14ymedio, Fernando Donate Ochoa, Holguin, Cuba, 20 January 2016 — The
rain did not stop hundreds of people from gathering on Tuesday morning
outside the emblematic Garayalde market in the city of Holguin, waiting
for its reopening after eight months of repairs. In its second opening
in less than a decade, the commercial center aims to offer a wide range
The line to enter Garayalde started forming the day before and to
organize it people were given numbers and allowed to enter in groups.
The first to enter when the market opened had slept outside from the
early hours of the morning to guarantee their place.
Most customers were carrying backpacks and big bags to fill with some of
the 180 products that had been announced for sale at the market,
promoted by Ana Maria Aguilera, market administrator, on the local TV
channel Tele Cristal the day before.
However, neither the quantity nor the quality of the available products
lived up to expectations. Several consumers interviewed by 14ymedio
agreed that they hadn't found a great deal that was new. "They are the
same products they had before they closed," said one lady a little
disgusted by the long wait. She also talked about the prices, which she
considered excessively high.
The first day after the repairs had barely begun when most customers
headed to the meat counters. Unlike other products, pork at 17 Cuban
pesos a pound (about 56¢ U.S.) was an attractive price for people who,
over the last quarter, had seen the price climb above 30 CUP a pound.
Nor were there controls lacking to prevent disruptions. Outside the
market it was evident very early in the police operation and the
presence of troops to making discipline at the reopening.
The local administrator told the press, "We appealed to the police to
organize the link and to help avoid customers hogging products for
resale. We are all going to work together to ensure that this scourge of
society doesn't happen here."
She also clarified that sales would be unrationed, but regulated, and
specified the amounts that would be sold per person: two cartons of
eggs, five pounds of meat and ten pounds of rice, "with the objective
that everyone would get some."
In the line there were women with children. One of them confessed that
she had brought her five-year-old daughter to get "priority in buying"
and to not have to wait "in such a long line."
The managers of the shopping center, which employs 70 workers, expected
to exceed 100 million Cuban pesos in sales, which depends on producers
and suppliers being able to deliver the amounts committed. Most of these
are local industries, cooperatives and State farms.
It is not the first time this market center, created in the early
eighties of the last century, has undergone renovation. Its previous
reopening was in 2009, after repairs and conversion into a market for
the sale of unrationed domestic products. This time there was a general
reconstruction with a reorganization of the departments to make the
market work better, according to an official from the provincial
Accommodation and Food Services company, which owns the market.
Expectations, however, exceeded the internal distribution of supplies.
Four hours after opening this Tuesday, the market had run out of meat
and canned sauces and tomatoes.
A clerk said it had been a lot of demand and that he had sold everything
available to him for the day.
The only meat remaining for sale, which no one wanted, was ground
hamburger and ground chorizo, at 20 and 28 Cuban pesos per kilogram
respectively. Also sold out was any kind of seafood. In the candy store,
of ten products only three were still on display.
Source: Holguin's Garayalde Market Reopens with "Free" Prices but
Regulated Sales / 14ymedio, Fernando Donate Ochoa | Translating Cuba -