Thursday, 3 April 2014

Further Cubanization when Cuba is trying to un-Cubanize itself

A few days earlier, the government came up with a new law forcing landlords to offer on sale "at the fair price" the houses they have been renting for twenty or more years. They have 60 days to prepare the whole paperwork and then offer those houses. Evidently, the Boligarchs who own real-state usually own new buildings, so they won't be affected. A lot of middle-class people coming to nothing will lose their livelihood. The "fair price" is something Maduro's regime decides on its own. This is its solution to its failure in building social housing. The Chávez government was less capable of building flats and houses for the poor than the government of Caldera II, even if Chávez had over 500% the money and 300% the time Caldera had. The Association of Landowners is trying to have this law repealed, but we know how justice goes in Venezuela.

The government is also introducing the ration card for its Mercal supermarkets. People will have to give all kind of personal data and, most importantly, their finger prints. The government says this is to "make the system more efficient". In reality, it is because it doesn't have enough money to finance so much food under market prices. The ration card will aggravate the already bad shortage situation in less poor areas. 

It goes like this:

A large proportion of the poor work as illegal  street vendors to survive - curiously, the government counts them as "employed", so that Venezuela has a 7% unemployment figure when in reality about 50% of the population are street vendors and illegal taxi drivers and the like who more often than not live much worse off than the 26% who are unemployed in Spain.

These people often queue up in shops to buy products at regulated prices and resell those products at a much higher price - usually more than twice -.

Since last December, street vendors have had to spend more time queueing up to buy more products at controlled prices so that they can sell them at a higher price in order to be able to pay off for more and more expensive non-regulated products.

As there are not enough products at regulated prices in the Mercal centres, they spend more and more time in the middle class areas, making shopping there a nightmare for nightmare we are talking about queues of more than 200 people and frequent rows, actual fighting.

Tension will escalate.

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