Visitors will be able to bring in food, medication and other necessities to Cuba following the lifting of Cuba tax on food. Following the largest anti government protests on the Communist run island in decades, the statement was made on Sunday by the authorities when tens of thousands of people rallied to the streets to protest.
From Monday, there will be no restrictions on the kind of things that travellers can bring in. However, the policy is only temporary, and critics of the government have labelled it “too little, too late.” At a meeting broadcast on state television on Wednesday, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz announced the move. His tone was far more conciliatory than that of President Miguel Daz-Canel, who had called on supporters of the administration to take to the streets to “defend the revolution” as the protests grew.
Mr Marrero Cruz, on the other hand, stated that the removal of import duties “was a demand made by many travellers and it was important to take this choice.” He went on to say that the administration would “evaluate things” after the end of the year. Travellers to Cuba are presently allowed to bring up to 10kg of medicine into the nation without paying any taxes.
They must, however, pay customs fees on the restricted amount of food and personal hygiene items they are permitted to carry into the country. Import taxes should be abolished, according to several Cubans, in order to alleviate the island’s pharmaceutical and food shortages. The tariffs were imposed by the government to reduce the number of “mulas” (Spanish for “mules”), or couriers who travel to Cuba from outside carrying large amounts of foreign products and currencies.
However, the measure impacted not only Cubans who relied on “mulas” to bring them stuff they couldn’t get at state-run stores, but also those who relied on relatives in other countries to furnish them with much-needed food and sanitary products. While the government’s removal of the import tax is considered as a rare gesture, its transitory nature has drawn ridicule. Because the covid-19 epidemic has resulted in a reduction in the number of planes arriving on the island, the impact of eliminating the limitations is expected to be minimal.
Many others who posted on social media, however, thought it was little more Some people remarked that they risked demonstrating – in a country where unauthorised public gatherings are banned – in order to get considerably more than this small concession. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
We want to be free “Yoani Sánchez, a government critic and journalist, tweeted shortly after the announcement.
“Blood was not spilt on Cuban streets in order to bring a few additional luggage into the country.”
The demonstrations, which began on Sunday, were not only the largest but also the most broad in decades in Cuba. Since the protests began, dozens of people have been arrested across the country.
On Tuesday, authorities announced that one guy had perished. Demonstrators posted live footage of rallies across the country on social media, spreading word of the protests. Cubans have had access to mobile internet for a few years, although it is offered by a state-owned corporation. Following the protests, there was an internet blackout, which many attributed to the government’s attempts to stifle discussion.