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  •  A man sells vegetables at a market in Havana, Cuba.

    A man sells vegetables at a market in Havana, Cuba. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 March 2018
Opinion

Mary Blanca Ortega, Interior Minister of Commerce (MINCIN), said the opening of the wholesale food market would generate more cooperatives.

Amid talks of economic reforms in Cuba, the country inaugurated Mercabal, its first wholesale food market on Saturday. The move is a part of border modifications being made to the country's economy by Cuban President Raul Castro.

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Mary Blanca Ortega, Interior Minister of Commerce (MINCIN) said the opening of the wholesale food market would generate more cooperatives, leaving out private workers, or “cuantepropistas,” at the outset.

Mercabal is part of "the process of reordering trade to meet one of the most repeated demands of those who exercise the new state forms of management in the country," according to Granma newspaper. Some of its products include beans, cigars, soda drinks, beers, sugar, salt, preserves, chicken, hamburgers, and sausages. Discounts will range from 20 to 30 percent of the retail price.

Located in Havana, the wholesale food market opened its doors at a time when the Cuban government "temporarily" suspended the issuing of several private sector job licenses.

Official figures indicate that Cuba now has 550,000 registered private workers and 429 non-agricultural cooperatives in operation.

Though committed to economic reforms, the Cuban government has reiterated that it will not allow the concentration of property and wealth through private management, nor turn its back on its socialist principles.

“The people will participate in the decisions that the government takes,” said Cuban Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel. "The people can also recall someone who doesn't fulfill their responsibilities. There has to be a focus on ties to, links with, the people, to listen to the people, deeply investigate the problems that exist and inspire debates about those problems."

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