Cuba: Customers flock to supermarkets after government allows US dollar purchases

Hundreds of Cubans could be seen on Tuesday crowding outside Havana supermarkets after the government allowed the purchase of various items with US dollars and eliminated the 10 percent tax. Footage shows hundreds of people queuing outside the '3rd and 70th Supermarkets' in Havana where they were able to buy food, personal care items and also household goods. «I think the government is trying to recover the foreign currency that is on the street so that they can buy things outside [abroad],» said one of the customers who was standing in line outside waiting to get in, and he added: «The supermarket has a lot of things. If you have the dollars, go in and buy it.» Another customer in the queue said he thought the measure was fine, «but the problem is that you have to stock up more so you don't have the crowds that are here.» As of Monday, Cuban authorities have allowed their citizens to make purchases in US dollars in 72 stores throughout the country. According to media reports, in the first stage, it will only be possible to acquire a restricted list of products that will be expanded by August.
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