The theft of 133 tons of chicken for subsidized sale of the interior of a Cuban state company has generated great citizen stupor, a strong judicial response and the call of the Government and the Communist Party to use a “strong hand” against crime. According to the official version, the balance is overwhelming: an illicit benefit estimated at 1.35 million dollars, 8,500 15-kilogram boxes of chicken stolen, dismissals, dismissals, eight home searches, and at least 30 detainees who could face up to 20 years in prison.
The theft of chicken – the main source of protein in Cuba – occurs in the midst of a serious economic crisis on the island where frequent blackouts and rampant inflation are compounded by shortages of basic products, including fuel, medicine, and food. The plot, according to state television, was uncovered after the last of about five thefts – about 26 tons of chicken in 1,660 boxes – on a date that the state news did not specify, but which revealed a complex “modus operandi” with many involved.
According to this reconstruction of the events, the perpetrators accessed the Havana facilities of the state company Copmar, dependent on the Ministry of Food Industries, at dawn and with a truck took away hundreds of boxes of frozen chicken. The criminals had the support of company personnel, who gave them access, and then they had developed a system to clone metal seals of the cold room doors so that the theft would not be obvious. Cuban television recognized control failures at different levels because the total stolen is equivalent, according to official estimates, to the amount of chicken that the state sells at subsidized prices for a month in a “medium province.”
The authorities indicated that each box It was resold for 3,800 Cuban pesos (158 dollars at the official exchange rate, but only 12.5 dollars at the informal exchange rate), when the average salary is 4,200 pesos. On the black market, this product can reach much higher prices. Among the 30 accused -11 in provisional prison- there are “shift leaders, technologists, custodians (guardians)” and also people not linked to Copmar, according to state media.
Among the crimes contemplated by the prosecutor’s office are those of “embezzlement, robbery, bribery, failure to comply with the duty to preserve the assets of economic entities and reception,” which is why acts of common crime, but also corruption, are being investigated. The official media reported the dismissal of the general director of Copmar and the “management” of the state business entity in which it is integrated, the Base Economic Unit (UEB) Havana. The leadership of the Revolution has reiterated the call to close ranks now act with a hard hand, with firmness, without warm cloths or blandenguery and in accordance with the Law, as has always been done against these criminal manifestations.