Article in Granma says illegal networks operating with impunity in retail outlets

Granma has published a lengthy investigative report and commentary indicating how corrupt individuals appear to be able to act with impunity in some retail outlets. The article comes at a time of continuing concern among Cubans about shortages of some foodstuffs and suspected illegality surrounding the availability of essential items.

A detailed story published in Granma under the headline ‘The fruits of indolence’ cited observations at La Puntilla, a CIMEX commercial store in the municipality of Miramar Playa in Havana where the report said: “organised almost militarily and in the face of the complicit indifference of the employees, a squad of strong youngsters appeared (…) who in a few minutes bought 15,000 apples (150 boxes each of one hundred). The boxes, the report said, were then removed ‘using transport from the Cimex company’ in a manner that suggested impunity.

The report’s author, Lissy Rodríguez Guerrero, went on to describe those who took the items from the convertible currency store as ‘pigeons of oligarchs who already control food distribution networks in Cuba’, and noted the response of an employee of the store who said, “we cannot do anything.”

The story suggested that what happened was the tip of the iceberg relating to ‘private food distribution network, sometimes managed by those with the responsibility to denounce and control’.

It observed: ‘(…) we cannot cover the sun with a finger. The unscrupulous take advantage of the shortcomings. How many times have we not seen scarce products of first necessity (…) forcing the population to acquire them in a black market that feeds on the irregularities’.

The hard-hitting article of a kind rarely seen in the Cuban media argued that ‘the lack of control’ was creating ‘dangerous networks’ that profited from the needs of millions of Cubans.

‘La Puntilla is not isolated and also speaks of the failures in the management of the company. Internet users themselves have reported similar events in other stores’, the story said, quoting examples of national products that are not easily obtainable.

A subsequent report suggested that Cimex was investigating and prosecutions were likely.

However, the original story made the direct and apparently still to be addressed points that external audits from Cimex’s superior body, the Business Administration Group, had failed as had training and political work.

The full story can be read in Spanish at


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