Jorge Ramon Castillo | ICDPRESS | cubanet.org
A shortage of Aromas-brand cigarettes in Santiago de Cuba outlets has led to speculation, with prices rising over 100% from 7.50 pesos a pack.
Street prices are now running 20 pesos per pack, and there are reports
of people traveling as far as Havana to bring back cigarettes to sell.
Police have launched a campaign at the city’s terminals, looking for those who arrive with “suspicious quantities”, reportedly anything more than 10 packs. At the city’s rail station, they have confiscated hundreds of cigarette packs so far. Authorities display the confiscated merchandise to discourage what the government looks upon as capitalist activities.
In 1993, a similar crisis sent prices skyrocketing to as much as 80 pesos a pack. The average monthly salary, according to official statistics, is 240 pesos a month.