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New Tax on Food Sales Imposed in Cuba Amidst Economic Crisis

New tax on food sales in Cuba propels the economic crisis even further, leading to food insecurity and worsened inequality

Food Sales Tax in Cuba

As economic, socio-political, and cultural conditions continue to deteriorate in Cuba, the government slaps a new tax on food sales in Cuba, adding insult to injury.

On Saturday, it was announced that there would be a 10% tax on food sales in light of devastating, unchecked, and uncontrolled inflation and economic instability in the country.

What the new tax means for Cubans

Cuba’s new tax on food sales propels economic crisis even further, leading to food insecurity and worsened inequality.

The levy is being imposed on small businesses, self-employed individuals, and small- and mid-sized businesses in the retail sector that are dealing in food sales of any kind. This also includes restaurants, hawkers, vendors, and independent businesses, who were only really permitted to carry out these sales in August 2021, after a push for reform.

According to Cuban economist Pedro Monreal, who Tweeted his analysis of the situation, this will cause food prices to become even more unaffordable than they are, broaden the economic gap, and affect low-income households the worst.

The declining political situation in the country

This is a devastating decision by the regime, seeing as how Cuba already imports over 80% of its entire food supply, but purchases have declined sharply due to the economic distress and inflation, which came to a head at 70% last year.

People continue to wait in long lines to acquire food and medication, struggling to make ends meet and get their basic needs met. The pandemic worsened the access to food and other essential supplies, given that the global economy and even transportation and travel were majorly affected.

The situation escalated so much that there were mass riots across Cuba in the summer of 2021. People took to the streets demanding their needs be met and pushing for a change in government--and the state responded with a flicker of hope.

However, the situation took a turn for the worse again when many protesters were arrested and charged for public disorder, sedition, and attacks. The situation in Cuba is spiraling out of control very rapidly, and human rights groups, social commentators, and many others are waiting and hoping for real, meaningful change.

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