Now remember that in my previous post, I mentioned what the wages are in Cuba for government workers. (very low) I also mentioned that they use most of their money on food.
Every single Cuban gets a ration book each year. It looks like a coupon book, of sorts. And in each community or neighborhood, there are the ration stores that they must go to when purchasing their ration food items. This system has been in place since 1959. They still have to purchase the items with their local currency, but it is at a very discounted price. Our bus made a stop at one of these so we could see for ourselves what they have to go through. Take a look:
Check out the scale that is used to measure out the items:
Now for the unbelievable part:
Here is what they are allowed to purchase from this store:
- 5 lbs of rice per month
- 1 lb of beans per month
- 1 lb of oil to cook with per month
- 3 lbs to sugar per month
- 1 lb of brown sugar per month
- 1 small pkg of coffee per month
- 1 small pkg of spaghetti per month
- 1 small loaf of bread daily
- 1 pkg of salt every 3 months
- 10 eggs every 15 days
- 1 leg of chicken every 15 days
- 1 pkg of feminine pads for women every month
- 1 bottle of detergent every 2 months
- 1 small container of milk every 15 days
I need you to stop and think about this for a moment. Could you make it an entire month on this diet? Of course not. So they have to use what money is left at their local Farmers Markets to buy fresh produce. But about 2/3 into the month, the money and food are gone. Then they have to be “creative” and try to sell something in order to get more money for food. It makes me very sad to think about having to live that way. I know we have people here, in the USA, that go hungry. But to be given a list of what you can buy from the government each month turns my stomach.
They don’t eat a lot of beef because they need the milk. Our guide told us that there have been cases where the government wouldn’t let farmers butcher their cows for the meat, so late at night, when it is dark in the country, farmers have been known to kick one of their cows so it would run into the street and get hit by a vehicle. As soon as it happened, the farmer (who was hiding behind a tree) would run out to the street, cut up the cow leaving only its head in the road, and run off. What a way to live. It really is hard to imagine.
We are so blessed in the USA to have the freedoms we do. You really don’t fully appreciate that until you experience something I like did. Wow.