Queues, lines, colas. Whatever word you choose, It all boils down to waiting. When the word goes out, either in person or by telephone or by Facebook messenger that products are available, Cubans rush to get in line and wait. The average person does not know when the next shipments will arrive so waiting is their only option.
In Cuba something is always in short supply. During my many visits, I have witnessed shortages of sugar, flour, coffee, chicken, fish, soap, detergent, soda, and even beer.
I have heard it said that Cubans are patient people. I disagree. I believe they are no more or less patient than anyone else. They have just been beaten down and oppressed for so long that they have resigned themselves to the failures of their government.
Sixty years after the revolution the country still cannot feed itself. Cuba has to import over 70% of it’s food. One can regularly see bags of rice from China and Viet Nam and boxes of frozen chicken from the USA. In the country that used to lead the world in sugar production, I once saw bags of sugar from France.
All of these images are from one day in Havana: February 24, 2020
This is a line for potatoes. I read a story from a Cuban blogger that told of one woman’s five hour wait to buy some potatoes.
Lines for soap. Only a few people are allowed into the store at a time.
Lines for detergent.
Lines for cases of beer.
Update: April 22, 2020
Lines continue and shortages worsen. With the country shut down, the tourist dollars have dried up. There is insufficient money to pay for imported goods.
Lining Up and Muzzled