Friday, October 4, 2013

Our Daily Bread - Stolen Today

Our Daily Bread: Stolen Today / Reinaldo Emilio Cosano Alen
Posted on October 4, 2013

HAVANA, Cuba, October, – Part of the population of
Guanabo, east of Havana, spent two days without bread — an essential
food in the current Cuban diet — being available off the ration book,
because of a quarrel among bakers, including injuries and the breaking
of the gas lines to the ovens, which needed to be repaired and
interrupted production.

"Several police officers quelled the war between the bakers. The injured
were treated at the polyclinic. It was learned through statements from
the contenders that the fight started because some bakers stole wheat
flour from others," says Isabel Torres, a customer who couldn't buy any
bread because the fight broke out just as she arrived.

But the flour didn't belong to anyone but the State bakery, just like
the oil, salt, yeast, fuel, the ovens, and even the water, though these
ingredients are often appropriated. Corrupt practices extend to almost
all bakeries — not to be absolute — including the illicit sale of the
flour and oil.

What was the private reason for the conflict?

The Administration of the State bakeries and dessert shops have the
custom of authorizing (illegally) the bakers and other employees to take
home two pounds (loaves) of bread at the end of the day. They took them
or, without having paid for them, sold them right from the bakery. In
addition, they fabricated a collective plot for another quantity of
bread to sell for their own profit, using raw ingredients to their
advantage. They claim this profit is a supplement to their low wages.
The consequences are that the "official" bread is low quality and
underweight, and too expensive at ten Cuban pesos.

The State dairies also authorize the milkers to take two liters of milk.
But, bakers or milkers, are they honest in not exceeding their assigned
quotas of bread or milk? Not on your life!

For decades citizens have complained at neighborhood meetings with
representatives from the government and the Communist Party about the
terrible quality and low weight of the bread. It has also been denounced
in the official press, but in response there are only momentary
solutions, excuses, and hopes for improvement.

How is it that the government authority is incapable of definitively
solving such an old social problem? That is the point. People are tired
of eating — sometimes as their principal food source because of the
shortages — their daily ration of Anti-Bread.

The six bakers could face trial for brawling and labor indiscipline.
That is, if there is a trial. Otherwise, as sometimes happens, it will
all stay in the family with administrative reprimand and conciliatory
talk, "Gentlemen, nothing happened here!"… because they have to preserve
the image of the business in order to continue stealing.

It's common to find bakeries with "under the table" staff, off the
payroll, whose salaries are determined by the suction of the illicit

An inscription in big letters at the bakery on Neptune near the corner
of Belascoain, in Havana, says the same thing as at every other bakery
in the country, "We work for you!" For who?!

Christ commanded, "Distribute the wine and bread!" Biblical bread that
should be of good quality, without the subtraction of ingredients
because the story does not include a popular protest about the bad
quality of the food. Do we have to go back to ancient times to some day
eat good bread?

By Reinaldo Emilio Cosano Alén,

From Cubanet

3 October 2013

Source: "Our Daily Bread: Stolen Today / Reinaldo Emilio Cosano Alen |
Translating Cuba" -

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