June 19, 2019
Latest News

Waiting in long lines to buy food is Cuba's current crisis and biggest joke

By Atahualpa Amerise

Havana, May 24 (efe-epa).- People standing in long lines to buy food in Cuba has become so common that it has even become a joke.

"What is the animal with the longest tail in Cuba?" is the question. "The chicken," is the answer. Because in Spanish the word for tail (cola) is the same as for a line of people (cola), so those in that otherwise miserable predicament can laugh and say they're "in the tail of the chicken" when waiting in a long line to buy poultry.

Though jokes tend to ease the wait, there are also heated arguments and even fights over a place in line, of which people take videos and share them on social networks, making this pain a focus of attention in Cuban society and a symbol of the country's growing economic crisis.

"You used to go to the store to buy things. Now you have to stand in stupid lines till it kills you," complained Mirta, a retiree who expressed her indignation after the first hour of waiting at the doors of a supermarket in Havana's Miramar neighborhood.

"I've been in other countries where it's nothing like as hard as it is in Cuba," she added. "It's true that in socialism there are many good things but there are also bad things that the big shots don't see."

In the same long line of some 50 shoppers, two women accused each other of jumping the line, leading to loud bickering. "What's worst is that there's hardly any food, so people are like that, killing each other," said Miriela, another young woman waiting her turn.

In the tail of the chicken, there is one unbreakable rule: two packages per customer.

This restriction, imposed by the government on a number of basic products to avoid hoarding, can meet its match in Cuban guile, since many go to the supermarket with their children, nieces and nephews and even pay a CUC (equivalent of a dollar) to third parties to get the number of quotas they want of the desired white meat.

The aggravated shortage of products is an indication of the economic crisis that is beginning to hurt this country of 11.2 million inhabitants, whose diet depends between 60 and 70 percent on imports, as is the case with chicken meat.

To Cuba's endemic problems, such as the inefficiency of its centralized economic model and the accumulation of debt, have been recently added the toughening of the US embargo by the Donald Trump administration and the instability of the Nicolas Maduro government in Venezuela, supplier of half the island's fuel requirements.

Flour, cooking oil, eggs, powdered milk and sausages have practically disappeared from the supermarkets since late last year.

In the case of chicken, there has been less of a shortage. So...why do so many people line up to buy this poultry meat?"

The answer is multiple and is also in the street. On the one hand, "pork is impossible," said Marisa, head of a family with four children and six grandchildren at home, who has seen the price of pork double in just a few months, while the affordable and always-in-demand sausages have disappeared from refrigerators all over the island.

News history
Fed keeps US interest rates unchanged

Washington, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- The United States Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged despite President Donald Trump's...

What to know about Libra cryptocurrency

New York (USA), Jun 19 (efe-epa).-Facebook just disclosed the first details of its long-anticipated cryptocurrency, called Libra, according to a Dow Jones...

Xi, Trump hold telephone conversation ahead of G20 Summit

Beijing, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- The presidents of China and the United States held a telephone conversation about the ongoing tariff dispute between the two...

Japan's exports fall for sixth straight month in May

By Mayumi Negishi

Bolivia inaugurates its 1st capsule hotel

La Paz, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Comfort and a futuristic style come together in Bolivia's first capsule hotel, which starting this Tuesday will offer lodging to...

Trump's trade rep sees progress on quick USMCA pact approval

Washington, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday emphasized his office's "constructive" talks with Democratic lawmakers...

Trump says he'll meet with Xi at G20

Washington, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would have "an extended meeting" with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at the...

Facebook reveals Libra, ambitious foray into world of digital currency

San Francisco (USA), Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Facebook on Tuesday unveiled plans to launch a digital currency called Libra which will allow people to send money...

Bitcoin tops $9,000 as crypto rally trounces stocks

Hong Kong, China, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- The price of bitcoin has risen above $9,000, extending a rebound that has made cryptocurrencies far outperform...

Paris air show opens with Airbus advantage over Boeing

By Angel Calvo

Indian doctors stage strike demanding security at hospitals

New Delhi, Jun 17 (efe-epa).- Doctors across India on Monday went on strike to protest against the lack of security after a mob attacked healthcare...

London-Shanghai stock link opens, uniting British and Chinese exchanges

London, Jun 17 (efe-epa).- The London-Shanghai Stock Connect began operating on Monday, joining the British and Chinese stock exchanges for the first time...

Iran to exceed enriched uranium stockpile limits in 10 days

By Marina Villén

Southeast Asia side-steps US-China war over 5G technology

By Gaspar Ruiz-Canela.

Huawei revenue $30 billion less than forecast, founder says

Beijing, Jun 17 (efe-epa).- Huawei’s founder and CEO on Monday said the Chinese telecom giant’s revenues will be $30 billion less than expected over the...

Electricity restored in Argentina after historic blackout

Buenos Aires, Jun 16 (efe-epa).- A massive failure in the electrical grid caused Argentina to wake up Sunday on Father's Day and with elections in four...

Colombian agency makes investment pitch in New Zealand and Australia

Bogota, Jun 16 (efe-epa).- A delegation from Invest in Bogota, which promotes investment in Colombia's capital, is meeting with investors in New Zealand and...

Argentina recovers electricity after massive Father's Day blackout

Buenos Aires, Jun 16 (efe-epa).- Argentines woke to a massive blackout on Sunday - when the country was both celebrating Father's Day and four provinces...

Village in Lebanon marks Cherry Day with abundant harvest

The village of Hammana, southeast of Beirut, Lebanon is known for its cherries blooming and has celebrated Cherry Day for fifty years.

Citroën marks 100 years of innovation with public display in Paris

By Marta Garde

1 Miner rescued in northern Chile, another found dead, a third missing

Santiago, Jun 15 (efe-epa).- Of a group of three Bolivians trapped inside a mine in northern Chile, one has been rescued alive, a second was found dead and...

Brazilian general strike presents mixed picture

Rio de Janeiro, Jun 14 (efe-epa).- Events took place in each of Brazil's 27 states on Friday as a part of a general strike called by unions against...

Cuban entrepreneurs feel the pain from drop in US tourists

Lorena Canto

Lavender plantation in bloom in Hungary

A lavender plantation blooms near the village of Tihany in Hungary on the opening day of the annual Lavender Weeks fair on June 14.

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.