author photo

Warhol P: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

Resellers in Marianao, Havana: A Case Study

July 9, 2014 | Print Print |

Warhol P

The Marianao shopping plaza. Photo: panoramio.com

HAVANA TIMES — We’re surrounded, not by water, but by incompetent, stupid, blockheaded people and individuals who make money at the expense of common folk.

I have written before about the public square and market in the neighborhood of Marianao where vendors resell food product. I don’t know when I’ll be able to write an article that says something favorable about the place and consumers there (the ones who are cheated, ultimately).

Some days ago, I tried to take some pictures of the place and they almost lynched me, yelling horrible things at me.

I was even threatened by a woman who felt offended by the flash of my camera, aimed, not at her, but at the place in general. To be frank, she had nothing that would have made me want to include her in one of my pictures.

I had to beat it. Had I not, I would not be writing this post right now.

I’ve visited the place several days in a row and noticed that the police do morning rounds there on some occasions. When they do, everything is calm and quiet, one doesn’t see any vendors in the vicinity.

Many stay in the area, pretending to be buyers. They’ve created a mechanism only they are aware of, in order to let each other know when the police are coming and when they have to hide their products, so that these aren’t confiscated.

The police, however, aren’t there every day, and, when they’re not, unlicensed vendors have carte blanche to resell products that the State sells at much lower prices.

I’ve been wondering about what links exist between those who resell products and those who work at the square legally. They must have a way to pass on the goods to them as soon as they arrives there to the state facilities. Three days ago, I saw them receive a load of eggs.

The following morning, I went to the establishment and they didn’t have any eggs, but the entrance to the square is teeming with egg cartons sold at fairly high prices by the resellers.

I believe that, if the authorities had any real interest in what’s going at the square, they would have already found an effective way of combatting this kind of crime (such as placing a surveillance camera at the street corner where the square is located). Until something like this happens, things will continue to go from bad to worse. Resellers will have good days and bad days, and those who go to the square to buy food on their salaries will only have bad days.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    Warhol P is naïve to think that the PNR Sector Chief does not know about this market. Cuban State Security keep tabs on flash drives for goodness sakes! These vendors pay a ‘protection fee’ which allows them to set up shop to sell their stolen goods. These products serve to begin to fill the gap between State supply and public demand. It is in no one’s interest to close these markets permanently.