A Million Dollar Business Run by Fidel Castro's Son / Juan Juan Almeida
Juan Juan Almeida, 6 February 2017 — Officials, students, athletes,
workers, members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution,
foreign journalists and even tourists. Almost all have been victims of a
flagrant, illicit operation authorized by the Cuban government. It is a
business that involves millions, one that the Castro family is not
inclined to give up: the production and sale of jerseys worn for
non-stop campaigns and political marches.
Allow me to cite two examples.The visual common denominator during the
series of tributes the Cuban people paid to Fidel Castro between
November 29 and December 4 was a cloud of white T-shirts, some of which
were printed with the phrase "I am Fidel."
Millions of people sporting similar clothing paid their tributes at
Havana's José Martí Memorial, at events in Santiago de Cuba and
throughout the tour of the late commandante's ashes through the island.
The same shirts were seen on January 3 when hundreds of thousands of
Havana residents and representatives from the Artemisa and Mayabeque
provinces paraded in front of the Plaza of the Revolution during
commemorations for the 60th anniversary of the landing of the yacht
Granma and Revolutionary Armed Forces Day.
Cuba's "jersey business" is unquestionably generating millions of dollars.
The Cuban textile industry is engaged in a process of technological
revitalization intended to modernize its equipment and expand its capacity.
One beneficiary is the state-owned company Hilatex, which produces and
markets towels. Others are companies such as Alquitex, which produces
training uniforms for the Armed Forces and Public Health as well as
sanitary tissues for expectant mothers.
The Ducal y Boga group is licensed to import fibers, yarns, fabrics made
of cotton, polyester and lycra, knitted and woven fabrics, semi-finished
articles, threads, clothing accessories, dyes, chemicals, sewing
machines, machinery for knitting and other textile-related machinery
along with spare parts.
Whether they are commercial in nature or not, all Cuban businesses — and
this includes those whose products are handmade — are under a regulatory
directive to buy T-shirts from an unnamed producer that nobody wants to
A source with access to the chain of production of this unique item —
one which, like the mathematical constant and irrational number pi,
shows up in every government parade and store — informs me that the
product is both expensive and of poor quality. Nevertheless, Cuban
businesses are obliged to buy them at three dollars per unit, twice its
Let's do a simple calculation. If we multiply $3.00 — the price Cuban
companies are forced to pay — by the number of people wearing them in
political marches, it is not unreasonable to think that the income
generated by this business would be the envy of any number of companies.
In the midst of a major campaign to combat corruption, the question that
arises is: Why does everyone turn deaf, dumb and blind when faced with
evidence of a national crime?
A Spanish businessman, who struggles with all his might to combat this
fraudulent monopoly, notes that he has met with the directors of the
retail chains Caracol, TRD and Tiendas Panamericanas.
To all of them he has offered a product of higher quality at a lower
price. He has made large scale tender offers and has even complained to
the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba yet he has never managed
to break into the market.
"The Castros," says this native of the Iberian peninsula, who asks in a
pleading tone that his name not be used — "have a good eye for business
and enough power to crush any competitor."
Who is behind this hidden lucrative business?
The mystery would seem harder to crack than the formula for Coca-Cola.
But dissatisfied men have no tolerance for secrets. The small, unknown
factory that produces these textile riches is located in Punto Cero, the
Castro family compound, and its operations are, without the slightest
doubt, illegal. This is because it relies on unpaid military labor or,
more precisely, slaves in battle fatigues.
And, like icing on a cake, we discovered that the person who runs this
corrupt and profitable company is Alexis Castro, son of the late Cuban
dictator. To be specific, this is a multi-million dollar business whose
workplace conditions are without dignity.
Source: A Million Dollar Business Run by Fidel Castro's Son / Juan Juan
Almeida – Translating Cuba -