Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

Sept. 6, 1999.

SO WHERE DID ALL THE LEFT-OVER BREAD GO? By Ernestina Rossell, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - She seemed quite serious as she said, "I would like to bring it up at the next assembly of the Popular Powers for our neighborhood...the matter of the extra bread."

In her opinion, with so many people gone or in the process of leaving Cuba, it really didn't seem fair that the rationing book would still allow only one daily bread bun. If thousands of people were gone...thousands of bread buns were being left over.

So where was her extra bun? This was what she asked herself while she would wind her way up and down 16th St. on the way to the bakery-shop at the corner of Dolores Ave. in the Lawton neighborhood. For those already familiar with the Cuban realities I'd like to clarify the concept of the bread in question. These are 5-cent buns which fit in the palm of your hand, although there are places in our country where they would actually fit in a closed fist!

I must confess it seemed absurd, to me, to make a claim for such a small piece of bread when so many other food items had disappeared from the Cuban rationing books so long ago. Even when I pointed this out to her she insisted she would raise the issue at the legislative assembly, only the matter of the "extra" bread. And that is what she did.

The usual responses followed. They listened to her and promised to answer her at the next assembly meeting as if the answer entailed major strategic decisions. Some months later the answer came, wrapped in the usual excuses, inclusive of the "imperialists' blockade." But what never came was the extra bread bun per person.

So my neighbor continued her daily trips to the Dolores bakery-shop on 16th St., looking for her daily bread, convinced that in Cuba instead of the miracle of the multiplying fish and bread buns we must have some kind of black magic which makes thousands of bread pieces disappear.

What a surprise she experienced one day when she came across some large bread loaves selling at a "shopping" (retail shop) for $0.85 or at the new "special bread stores" for 10 Cuban pesos! That's where her extra bread had gone.

Since her humble salary is not enough and she does not have anybody outside the country sending her dollars, she went on...but with a much clearer vision of her country's reality, different from what the speeches, assembly meetings and loud praises might claim.

Ernestina Rossell.


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