Monday, April 14, 2008

Purchasing power

While an increasingly senile Fidel Castro continues to thunder in his loopy “editorials” about the evils of consumerism, it seems ordinary Cubans have no such qualms.

Those lucky Cubans who have access to hard cash - as opposed to the largely worthless pesos they receive from the State - can’t wait to get their hands on the little consumer luxuries we so take for granted out here in the real world.

According to this report by the Spanish daily El Pais, most of the State-owned electrical and electronic stores in Havana have done a roaring trade in DVDs and rice cookers in the first 10 days following a decision by Raul Castro to lift restrictions on such purchases.

Despite outrageously inflated prices (thanks, Raul!), more than 630 DVDs, 320 rice cookers and 30 electric motorcycles were sold by just one of the larger stores in Havana during that time.

But as the newspaper notes, it’s a similar story elsewhere on the island.

At Bejucal, a town of about 15,000 inhabitants half an hour or so from Havana, the local store reported selling no fewer than 110 DVD players since the lifting of restrictions.


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