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In Cuba, not only food is scarce — now so are the food ration books

 A Cuban food ration book
A Cuban food ration book

Cuba says it doesn't have enough paper to print food ration books for 2022 — an ironic sign of how worse the communist island's economy keeps getting.

Twenty-five more Cuban migrants arrived by boat in Key West in recent days. It’s another indication of how bad their island’s economy is — especially food shortages.

Now, the Cuban regime can’t even tell its citizens what food they can — and can’t — have.

For decades, ration books have told Cubans what scarce food they can buy on the island each month, and they record what food Cubans purchase.

But now — in an ironic sign of just how worse communist Cuba’s economy keeps getting — the government has admitted it doesn’t even have enough paper to print new ration books for 2022.

Cuba’s Commerce Ministry said for now Cubans in most of the country will have to use what page space is left in their 2021 ration books. Officials say they hope to have new ration books out by the end of next month.

But according to independent Cuban media, many Cubans say the lack of new books will leave them confused about what food is available to them.

One area where complaints are particularly loud is the western Artemisa province. Perhaps not coincidentally, U.S. officials say the Cubans who just arrived Key West were from Artemisa.
Copyright 2021 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.