State stores suffer looting amid protests in Cuba

Several people are waiting for their turn to buy food, today in Havana (Cuba). Illustrative picture.| Photo: Yander Zamora/Agência EFE/Gazeta do Povo

Several of the controversial state-owned stores that sell food and basic goods in foreign currency were looted on Sunday amid an unprecedented wave of protests against Cuba’s government.

Witnesses told Agence Efe that in the municipality of Cárdenas, in the province of Matanzas, a store for foreign exchange payments, businesses whose opening caused great discomfort among the population, was looted. Images on social media showed a similar incident in the town of Güines, in Artemisa. Information on the situation in the country is, however, mixed due to the constant cuts in communication that depend on a state monopoly.

The videos show groups of people breaking shop windows and throwing food onto the street, while others carry whole boxes. During the protests, one of the most frequent cries is “down with the MLC stores”, in reference to the “freely convertible currency” stores that have multiplied across the country in the last year. Many Cubans do not have access to these establishments because they are not paid in dollars or euros.

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