Local Communist Party officials in the Regla neighborhood of Havana, Cuba, are selling chicken and rice to locals in the aftermath of a devastating and rare tornado that left much of the capital in tatters, the independent outlet Cubanet reported this week.
Other media, like the independent newspaper 14 y medio and Miami’s Telemundo affiliate in the United States, have received similar reports that victims of the tornado – responsible for at least four deaths and over 100 injuries – ventured to a local government food post expecting humanitarian aid, but found they were expected to pay for government-provided aid, instead.
Cubanet interviewed several victims in the Regla community of Havana, who said they approached a local government post seeking food and other aid, believing it to be complimentary as is customary in an emergency. Instead, they found small food posts selling chicken and rice for 1.65 Cuban pesos (about $0.06) an ounce. As the neighborhood has not had electricity since the tornado, many residents had no choice but to buy the food, which quickly ran out after a long line formed to buy it.
“In such a situation, it was assumed that the State would immediately create the conditions to offer free cooked food to these people [the victims],” the newspaper argued. “On the contrary, government businesses offered special sales of eggs and crackers … the ‘special’ does not refer to discounts, but to the fact that these virtually disappeared products were available at all.”