The End of Havana’s Historic Cuatro Caminos Market
March 17, 2014
Yenisel Rodriguez Perez
HAVANA TIMES — It is rumored Havana’s popular Cuatro Caminos market has
been offered to Chinese capital. After 50 years of mismanagement, the
news came as no surprise. Plenty of misguided government projects have
ended up in the hands of foreign investors, after all.
Fort the time being, it looks as though the market will be spared total
collapse by becoming a sophisticated place for spending money, by being
refashioned into a space for consumption that is even further beyond the
reach of the majority of the population than it is was before it closed.
If the rumors are true, then Cuatro Caminos will lose its last, the
remaining vestiges of affordability and we will have yet another
sanctuary of impracticable consumption.
Years ago, the government pushed the homeless, alcoholics and street
vendors that gathered in one of the market’s neighboring streets out of
the area. It is a place where the poorest and most underprivileged in
the neighborhood meet. Could this be one of the reasons they decided to
shut down the marketplace?
The pro-capitalist complicity of Cuban governments has taken us from the
American Ten-Cent markets to the Chinese supermarket, passing through
the industrial aesthetic of the vast Soviet warehouses. First-rate or
second-rate establishments always aligned with geopolitical interests
removed from the needs of Cuban citizens.
With the Mariel port, the government hopes to place Cuba on the list of
tax havens and fill the country with maquilas, a la Cetral America. In
Cuba’s case, this government has the advantage of a depoliticized
working class eager to trade paid underemployment for underpaid employment.
They would let the woodsman rape us as a reward for saving us from the wolf.
With time, the political “will” to liberate the productive forces from
inside will be left behind and the logic of foreign investment and of
subordination to transnational companies will begin to be favored.
That other tyranny, that of economic growth and the capitalization of
the economy, will begin to blossom.
Source: The End of Havana’s Historic Cuatro Caminos Market – Havana
Times.org – http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=102459