News and Facts about Cuba

Heavy Police Operation against Merchants and Carriers

Heavy Operation against Merchants and Carriers / 14ymedio,
Yosmany Mayeta Labrada
Posted on March 22, 2015

14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Santiago de Cuba, 21 March 2015 —
Since early this Saturday, a heavy police operation had as its objective
self-employed workers, street vendors and private carriers in Santiago
de Cuba. The forces of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) reported
that the raid was aimed against high meat prices in the farmer’s markets
and the sale of potatoes in distribution networks.

Most of the arrests and fines occurred in the Venceremos and Altamira
suburbs of Santiago de Cuba. The uniformed agents arrived in the first
hours of the morning and demanded the vendors show their licenses for
engaging in commercial activity. Until midday, the toll of the operation
was the seizure of dozens of kilograms of pork meat and thousands of
pesos in fines.

Romilio Jardines, vendor of meat and agricultural products, was fined
700 Cuban pesos, although he said that his merchandise was not removed.
Nevertheless, he affirmed that “they came prepared in case one refused.”
The operation included special forces known as “black berets” who
surrounded the area’s markets and the main streets of both suburbs.

Alexander Benitez was among merchants who suffered the seizure of his
products. “The found me selling pork meat at 27 pesos a pound in the
doorway of my house and they came and demanded the license,” recounts
this Santiago native. “When they saw that I had no license they
confiscated the meat, the scales and also fined me 1,500 pesos.” Benitez
says that he approached the police to get the scales back “because they
were borrowed” but “they handcuffed me and put me in the police car.”

One of the covert sellers, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed
that it was true that “many self-employed workers have very expensive
meat and a pound of potatoes for seven pesos, but the government in the
state markets has none at any price.” The residents of the province
complain that the tuber has still not been distributed to the people
through the network of state markets, although in other cities its sale
has already begun.

Not only sellers of meat and agricultural products were the objective of
the police operation, but also drivers of cars and motorcycles were
investigated. Among them the driver of a private transportation truck
who was fined 2,500 pesos and had his license plate taken away. One
motorcyclist for a state enterprise also was sanctioned 30 pesos for not
having changed the license plate to the new system that has been
implemented in the country.

By the beginning of the afternoon, many merchants and carriers in the
Venceremos and Altamira suburbs were fined, but once the police began to
withdraw their forces, the areas around the farmer’s markets started
slowly to fill again with vendors and drivers.

Translated by MLK

Source: Heavy Police Operation against Merchants and Carriers /
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada | Translating Cuba –
http://translatingcuba.com/heavy-police-operation-14ymedio/

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