Wholesale vs. Retail

I have the impression of being trapped in a permanent deja vu, in a reality where phrases, complaints and situations are almost exactly repeated. Today at noon I heard on the street words identical to those of last week; the neighborhood brooding over problems very similar to those of two decades ago, and at the butcher’s a long line seemed modeled on another of 1994 or 2002. It’s hard to shake the feeling that we have already lived this, of having fallen into a loop that brings us back, over and over again, to the same point we’ve already passed before. One of the recurring scenes is the pursuit of food and other basic products chronically in short supply in our markets. Going after a little oil, a package of sausage, or a piece of soap to wash clothes.

The long-awaited reform that allowed the rebirth of self-employment has generated some problems that are barely talked about. Lacking a wholesale market where they can buy supplies and raw materials for their small businesses, private workers have turned to the already weak retail network. They line up at dawn outside the bakeries and certain shops to acquire large quantities of merchandise that end up in restaurant and snack bar kitchens. Without any special discounts for buying in quantity, maintaining a supply of vegetables, grains and meats becomes a harrowing task, difficult and extremely expensive. In addition, they significantly decrease the availability of products for the non-industrial consumer, the individual shopper who needs are only for home use. The retail majority.

The feeble State commerce is not prepared for the demand of recent months. Thus, it seems almost impossible to sustain over the longer term a coexistence between the private sector and the inefficient supplies from official companies. If this contradiction isn’t resolved, the time will come when pork, peppers and potatoes can only be found on the plates of paladares — private restaurants. And the neighbor who complains today, for the umpteenth time, about the absence of toilet paper, will have to visit the bathrooms of the new restaurants to remember what those rolls were like, so white, so soft.


63 thoughts on “Wholesale vs. Retail

  1. Cuban opposition leader Jorge Luis García Pérez, known as Antúnez, was released by police on Wednesday after being detained last Saturday in a violent incident at his city of birth, Placetas, in Villa Clara province.
    “My first words are to express my thanks to all those persons of good will who, somehow or other, decidedly contributed to my release,” said Antúnez in a statement made available by the Miami-based Directorio Democrático Cubano (Cuban Democratic Board).
    On Saturday, Antúnez was arrested, beaten and sprayed with pepper gas in a police jail cell.
    The domestic opposition movement and human rights activists had consistently denounced his detention.
    Last Thursday, Antúnez participated in a teleconference before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee dealing with the domestic situation in Cuba and the recent acts of harassment against the peaceful opposition.
    The U.S. government had demanded Antúnez’s immediate and unconditional release. At a recent press conference in Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland deplored the oppositionist’s arrest.
    Criticism has become strongest because Raúl Castro’s government seems to have activated a campaign to block the opposition’s plans to honor political prisoners on the occasion of Fathers’ Day, next Sunday.
    In the past 48 hours, the cell phones of several dissidents in Villa Clara and Santiago appeared to have been blocked by the authorities so they could not speak with supporters or journalists.
    “These actions highlight once again the repressive nature of the Cuban government, particularly with regard to citizens who peacefully express opposite points of view,” Nuland said. “We shall continue to support the Cuban people in its desire to determine their own future.”
    Joining the chorus of figures and personalities in U.S. politics who demanded Antúnez’s release was Senator Bill Nelson. In a letter to the chief of the Cuban Mission in Washington, Jorge Bolaños, the senator asked for an explanation.
    “I beg you to determine at once all the facts surrounding this affair and notify my office about Antúnez’s whereabouts and well-being,” Nelson said in his letter.
    Antúnez, 46, was released from prison in April 2007 after serving a 17-year sentence for allegedly engaging in enemy propaganda, attempts at sabotage and other crimes punishable by the Cuban penal code.
    Two weeks ago in Miami, groups of Cuban exiles showed a documentary that contains testimony from former political prisoners about the coercive methods used by the island’s prisons, and the consistent violation of the immates’ basic rights.
    The documentary, titled “Cuba’s Prisons: A Sequence of Terror,” was filmed and edited surreptitiously by members of the Oriental Democratic Alliance (ADO), a coalition of opposition groups in Cuba’s eastern provinces. The documentary included a testimony by Antúnez.

  2. Funny, I sent similar messages many a time in the past 4 years to the team “yoani”.

    No answer to date. I am still waiting for the team “yoani” to muster the courage and come forth for an open and civilised debate about their lies. I know they lie, THEY know they lie, the WHOLE WORLD, including their sponsors and supporters, knows that they lie. My offer is to talk about these lies and see why the team “yoani” has the urge to lie.

    Nothing. Absolute SILENCE.

    Would you believe it?


    Of course.

  3. It was most likely humberto who posted under my name.

    The similarity between his post 59 and 60, both insulting me by calling me gay, and the similar grammar, are too close to each other to be just a coincidence.

    But will friendly translator live up to her words or will she protect her own (humberto/whoever)?

    I’m sure we can all agree that “democracy” only goes as far as trashing opposition by any means necessary. The same “universal” rules do not apply when one of “our own” does the crime.

    I’d love to be proven wrong, but there’s absolutely NO chance of that…

  4. here you go friendly translator, here’s another IMPERSONATOR in the post 60.

    Please ban this impersonator.

  5. When I’m home alone, I can masturbate to anything from wrestling to diving contests. Just seeing guys in tight clothes or all over each other turns me on, but I would never want to admit I’m gay.



    +We are adding the last touches to the @FestivalCLIC Of course @CastroEspinM is also invited. Will she come? – 6 hours ago
    + Life goes on. Marti said it “to honor, honors” & I add “to insul, insults” @CastroEspinM – hours ago
    +If we can’t meet at your place @CastroEspinM my doors are open for you. The Yugoslavian model building. You know very well where – 6 hours ago
    + I challenge you @CastroEspinM to a civilized action of talking, of facing opinions. You are a psychologist, you know what I mean! :-) – 6 hours ago
    +@CastroEspinM It’s easy to attack verbally & after that hide yourself behind “Dad”. Are you up to a public discussion? Would you? :-0 – 6 hours ago
    +@CastroEspinM besides insulting, could you argument? The thing is, I’m a phylologist: I love words & good manners of the speech! :-0 – 6 hours ago
    + I challenge you to a hug @CastroEspinM I invite you to a debate, don’t hide! @CNNE
    +All this is because 1 day I asked a question @CastroEspinM “When we, Cubans, will be allowed to get out of the other closets?” @CNE – 6 hours ago
    +@CastroEspinM says I am a “mercenary”, curious then why no Court in this country had yet processed me :-0 – 6 hours ago
    +@CastroEspinM is afraid of the dialogue :-0 of a country where she & me had the same right to speak, to exist :-0 – 6 hours ago
    + Thanks to all for your interest and support. The solidarity helped a lot! – 6 hours ago
    +I apologize for the twitter-silence. Today is the 1st day my son is not feverish. We’ve been very worried but seems we are improving – 6 hours ago
    +It worries me that @CNN broadcasted declarations of @CastroEspinM against me without giving me the opportunity to answer – 6 hours ago


  8. Cuba Libre #16 “I wonder which is the better of the two worlds we live in?? Cuba, a socialist country ….Or Canada and the US…? Which do you think Cuba Libre?

  9. Sorry for my husband’s delusional rants. He won’t pay any attention to me, so he has to put all of his energy into his rants.

  10. Ahora voy a escribir en español, en el barrio me dicen da mira la loca o da mirita, no se el porque y me dicen cosas como que cuanto cobro, no se por que….si yo amo eternamente a Fidel y a su camarilla de privilegiados que me pasa mi cheque desde Washington,

  11. ok,i know iam a stupid paid by CAstro,so please let me get my money,I know all I have written is s—– but i need to eat,,,,Iam sorry.

  12. MIAMI HERALD: Cuba’s “Habemus Papam” – by BY JOSE AZEL

    Recent statements in Cuba’s Catholic media reflect this elitist church tradition of exclusion and secrecy. Espacio Laical, a publication run by the Lay Council of the Havana Archdiocese; Palabra Nueva (New Word), the archdiocese’s own magazine; and a letter signed by bishops and vicars of Havana’s Bishops Council, all use confrontational and exclusionary language to condemn those criticizing the tactics of Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega.

    The publications characterize critics of the cardinal’s Chamberlainian approach as factions full of hatred and prejudices with very little political intelligence. The argument is subtly made that Ortega alone has divined the right methodology for orderly and peaceful changes in collaboration with the Cuban government’s gerontocracy. In a modern day auto-da-fé, the archdiocese’s editorials declared that those who disagree with the cardinal exclude themselves from Cuba’s future.

    It is perhaps understandable that Cardinal Ortega and his Episcopal Council feel more comfortable interacting behind closed doors with their counterparts in the Cuban government than with the church’s parishioners. During Cuba’s struggle for independence, the church similarly sided with the brutal Spanish crown and not with the freedom seekers. The church has a controversial but successful 2,000-year history with its elitist, top-down, nondemocratic governing structure.

    However, the expressed disdain for inclusive, bottom-up, democratic participation by citizens in Cuba’s future is indefensible.

    When politico-economic decisions are made without transparency by an elitist cabal of mandarins, citizen participation is nonexistent. Opposing this discriminatory, pretentious approach is not, as church officials claim, “an immature lack of political intelligence.” It is, in fact, a mature expression of political acumen and a rejection of the penchant for messianic, caudillistic leadership that has been so prevalent and so damaging in Cuban history.

    There is, of course, another path. The church could and should support an inclusive call for bottom-up citizenry participation through free, multiparty, democratic elections under international supervision. But this, I suppose, is what would classify as scanty political intelligence outside the cardinal’s methodology.

    This inclusive alternative was pointed out in a recent article by Cuban democratic activist Marta Menor. She reminds His Eminence that, as he is a prince of the church, all Cuban citizens are princes of the nation and thus entitled to select their leaders freely.

    Cubans do not aspire to see black or white smoke coming out of the Castros’ command post and a military general declaring “Habemus Dictator!” They aspire to all the vicissitudes of exercising their rights and duties as citizens of a free nation. Amen.

    José Azel is a senior scholar at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami, and the author of the book, Mañana in Cuba.



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