Along with many others in Havana, I am distressed by the police operation that dismantled various manufacturing networks that made plastic plates, teaspoons, and hair clips. In the midst of a sweep against “social indiscipline” the police – after sweeping up the “divers” [see Blog entry “Diving in murky waters” June 10, 2008] – closed thirteen workshops and ten clandestine warehouses making and distributing high-demand products. The illegal manufacturers did not process drugs or traffic in arms, they simply dedicated themselves to producing plastic bowls, clothes pins, and hair clips.
It seems that the reforms that they are publicizing to the outside world include cracking down on private manufacturers. Whether or not this is the case, as a protest against this raid I will leave my hair loose for now. This is my way of telling myself, “Yoani, get used the disappearance of the accessories that allow you to tame your locks.” In the meantime, I’ve already bought an aluminum slotted spoon and a new broom, products that will surely disappear after this offensive.
As distressed buyers of plastic paraphernalia we would prefer that, rather than a police onslaught, alternative producers would have the opportunity to legalize their work. If the National Tax Authority (ONAT) legitimized them, the manufacturers would pay taxes and gain access to wholesale markets for raw materials. Soon nobody would want to pay inflated prices for similar merchandise sold at the foreign currency stores, and the State would no longer have to import products from so far away. The usual whistleblowers would not have to inform on those who make coffeepot gaskets, coat hooks and bottle caps. Not to mention my hair, which would display a beautiful clip of local make, bought from a respectable self-employed producer.
To read the news item published in Granma (in Spanish), click here.