Human Rights in Cuba

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American Tourists Are Eating All of Cuba’s Already Scarce
By Clint Rainey

While the idea of flying into Havana and bingeing on rum, cubanos, and
ropa vieja sounds pretty satisfying, a long dive by the New York Times
into the new situation down there points out there are actually
consequences when so many tourists, many of them Americans, arrive en
masse on a tiny communist island whose resources are already scarce:

Tourists are quite literally eating Cuba’s lunch. Thanks in part to the
United States , but also to poor planning by the island’s
government, goods that Cubans have long relied on are going to
well-heeled tourists and the hundreds of private restaurants that cater
to them, leading to soaring prices and empty shelves.

Without supplies to match the increased appetite, some foods have become
so expensive that even basic staples are becoming unaffordable for
regular Cubans.
Things like green peppers, onions, cucumbers, garlic, and even lettuce
mostly exist in the country’s state-run markets right now as “promises,”
the Times reports. It quotes locals who call trying to buy tomatoes “an
insult,” and say they “have to be magicians” to cook a decent meal these
days. It’s a complicated deal because, besides the government’s
shortsightedness (not realizing, for one, that 11 million mouths to feed
was going to morph into 14 million when the border opened), Cuba’s
private- scene also just exploded — from 100 spots in 2011 to
more than 1,600 today, the result of widely celebrated free-market
reforms. But that’s upped demand, and many of these places apparently
still face a variety of additional barriers, like laggard state
recognition that makes it hard for them to buy in bulk or import
ingredients from abroad. “It’s true, the prices keep going up and up,”
one local restaurateur argues. “But that’s not just the fault of the
private sector. There is generally a lot of chaos and disorder in the
market.”

Source: American Tourists Are Eating Cuba’s Already Scarce Food –
www.grubstreet.com/2016/12/american-tourists-are-eating-cubas-already-scarce-food.html

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