The End of Havana’s Historic Cuatro Caminos MarketMarch 17, 2014 | Print |
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.