I’d like to recite an ode to the daily snack received by custodians and security personal at certain state centers. The ham and cheese roll with a soft drink is the reason thousands of Cubans are still in their jobs. Without the earnings from the resale of this refreshment many definitely would have abandoned their positions. In fact one of the first questions when looking for employment is not the salary—equally symbolic and inadequate everywhere—but rather whether or not there is a snack. Selling it for twenty Cuban pesos allows workers to double their income, although they must abstain from eating the so necessary sustenance themselves.
Everywhere, discretely displayed but easy to find for those who look, are the bottle of Tropi Cola and the snack wrapped in cellophane. They’re at the entrance of the telephone office, inside the glass doors of the banks, in the booths that guard the entries to the ministries, in the bus station ticket booths, inside the museums and even in the cybercafé that offers its slow Internet at high prices. In all those places where they need custodians, escorts and guards, there are some who must resell their snack to stay on guard. A few slices of ham and others of cheese can make the difference between going in to work every morning or staying at home.