No Air Conditioning and Intrusive Music / Rebeca Monzo
Rebeca Monzo, 26 July 2016 — As random comments from ordinary citizens
on the streets suggest, we are going through a new Special Period,
though the government repeatedly denies it in media statements, calling
it "a difficult situation from which we will recover."
For confirmation, one need only observe the bus stops crowded with
people anxiously waiting for the next vehicle to take them to their
jobs, the hospital or the beach. The lack of fuel and spare parts are
the main causes of these "bottlenecks." For this reason, many people
feel forced to turn to boteros, or private taxis. Though expensive, they
are a solution to the problems of urban mass transit, for which the
government is responsible.
Another situation impacting us — apart from the unbearable heat and
famous Sahara dust storms — is the shortage of consumer goods and lack
of air conditioning in so-called hard currency stores.
In some of thee facilities, especially the smaller ones, the lack of air
conditioning is leading to longer lines and greater dissatisfaction in
The employees of these businesses, who work for eight hours a day in
sweltering conditions, have to limit access to two people at a time in
order to be able to wait on them. Once inside, customers run into
another big hurdle: no shopping bags. This drags out the shopping
process, causing discomfort and protests from those waiting their turns.
Given these circumstances, one would think that there ought to be some
compensation in the form of reduced prices due to the lack of customary
amenities such as air conditioning and bags in which to carry purchases
home, factors which would logically affect the value of an item. Then
there are the difficulties associated with the sometimes raucous
reggaeton background music, a telephone customer being left on hold or,
in the case of city buses, the drivers' choice of music in vehicles
overflowing with a disgruntled and sweaty public.
Source: No Air Conditioning and Intrusive Music / Rebeca Monzo –
Translating Cuba -