Cubans always asks tourists for soap. So what’s up with soap ?
We got a good explanation from a clerk in a government store.
Soap used to be included in the Cuban ration book. Which meant, in effect, Cubans were guaranteed the opportunity to purchase a specific amount of subsidized soap every month (if they had enough money).
A few years ago soap was dropped from the government ration book. Cubans can still purchase soap when its available, but it’s no longer subsidized and a lot more expensive. In Trinidad de Cuba I found a store well stocked with soap and purchased some “Zest” for 2.65 CUC per bar (one CUC is roughly equivalent to one USD). That’s expensive, even for Americans. Now consider that the average Cuban only earns 20.00 CUC per month and the problem becomes obvious.


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Inside a typical Cuban government store.


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A Cuban ration book and pesos.


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Explaining the system to us.


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Toothpaste, bath soap, and laundry soap.


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