19 de septiembre de 2019
ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS:
Hispanic World

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

By Atahualpa Amerise

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.

Histórico de noticias
Jason Moran and his ode to jazz arrive at New York's Whitney Museum

New York, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Jason Moran, considered to be one of the most innovative jazz musicians in the United States, has created an ode to that...

Greta Thunberg, activists urge Congress to act on climate change

Washington, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Sixteen-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, along with a group of indigenous leaders, on Tuesday demanded...

Nicaragua zoo welcomes scarlet macaw born in captivity

Managua, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Nicaragua's National Zoo has welcomed a baby scarlet macaw, a species in danger of extinction, born in captivity at the zoo for...

Baseball legend Mariano Rivera receives Medal of Freedom from Trump

Washington, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Panama-born baseball legend Mariano Rivera, the former New York Yankees pitcher, on Monday received the Presidential Medal of...

New York hairdressers look after Latino community's mental health

By Ruth E. Hernandez Beltran

Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy as per settlement

New York, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the highly addictive opioid OxyContin, has filed for bankruptcy in the...

Vaping: Roulette of chemical ingredients that can cause cancer

Washington, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Electronic cigarettes contain a chemical flavoring compound that can cause cancer and that has been prohibited as an additive...

Hurricane Humberto intensifies, threatens US coast with strong waves

Miami, Sep 16 (EFE).- Hurricane Humberto continues intensifying in the Atlantic on Monday and threatens to pound the southeast coast of the United States...

Honduran president asks CentAm to work together to overcome common enemies

Tegucigalpa, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Sunday urged Central Americans to unite to face "common enemies," including...

Venezuelans in forefront of new delivery operations in Ecuador

By Daniela Brik

Maradona makes stumbling debut as Gimnasia coach

Buenos Aires, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- Diego Maradona had a bitter first outing as the new coach for Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, falling to Racing Club 2-1...

Argentina's gov't to present new budget amid economic woes

Buenos Aires, Sep 15 (EFE).- Finance Minister Hernan Lacunza will present the proposed 2020 budget to the Argentine Congress this week, a budget that will...

UN proposes better education, security to protect religious sites

By Mario Villar

Bolivian indigenous people try to recover in aftermath of Amazon fires

By Gabriel Romano

Celebrities turn out to help Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian

San Juan, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Almost half of the 2,500 people listed as missing after Hurricane Dorian devastated the northwestern Bahamas have been tracked...

Migrant advocate says Mexican gov't hindered by political realities

By Juan Manuel Ramirez G.

Bahamas officials estimate 2,500 missing after Hurricane Dorian

San Juan, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- Bahamas emergency authorities estimate that some 2,500 people are missing after the devastating passage of Hurricane Dorian...

Trump doesn't rule out easing Iran sanctions to pave way for Rouhani summit

Washington, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Wednesday did not rule out relaxing US sanctions on Iran in the coming weeks, amid rumors that he...

Mexico's gov't pumps $5 bn in capital into Pemex

Mexico City, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- The federal government said Wednesday that it was pumping $5 billion in capital into Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), bolstering...

Trump rips Fed, urges rate cuts and zero interest rates

Washington, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on Federal Reserve policy makers on Wednesday, calling them "Boneheads" and urging...

Trump threatens Taliban on anniversary of 9/11

Washington, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Wednesday - the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks - promised to escalate combat...

Apple opts for classic look with new iPhones, focuses on camera improvements

By Marc Arcas

TV series "Monarca" shows Mexico that doesn't ride burros or wear sombreros

Mexico City, Sep 10 (efe-epa).- The television series "Monarca," which will air on Netflix on Sept. 13, depicts a Mexico that is "current, that doesn't ride...

Tenharim tribe, the guardians of the Amazon, battling against wildfires

By Fernando Bizerra