Following this week’s unprecedented protests, Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero has announced the government will be lifting restrictions on food, medicine, and toiletries.
During an appearance on the Cuban TV show Mesa Redonda on Wednesday night, July 14, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero announced they would be temporarily lifting restrictions so that travelers will be able to bring unlimited food, medicines and hygiene products into the country without having to pay customs duties.
The new measures are set to start on Monday, July 19, and will remain in place for the rest of the year according to Marrero.
Despite the scarcity of these goods, the government had kept these restrictions on the import of all goods to suppress the “mula” businesses. “Mulas” or mules, is the name given to people who take goods into the country to sell on the island, where all stores are state-owned. These have also been used by many Cuban Americans to send money and other basic necessities to their families on the Caribbean island.
Marrero added that he expects measures to have more significant impact once air travel returns to normal. The government has limited the number of flights to the island due to the pandemic.
The news comes following this week’s unprecedented protests in which thousands of Cubans took to the streets to demand freedom and the end of the communist regime on the island amid shortages of food, basic necessities and vaccines and the country’s worst economic crisis in decades. A situation that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent spike in cases within the country.
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