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Retirees from the province of Guantánamo have criticized the high price of "gas balitas" marketed by the country's government. In a recent interview with Cubanet, the Cuban Francisca Barrosa affirmed that with her pension it is difficult for her to acquire the product of first necessity.

"I am retired, I earn 270 (CUP). I pay a cold, light payment, water payment, CDR payment, Federation payment and I have to buy a balita at 110 CUP ". At the same time, he declared that the price is very expensive for the small amount of fuel it brings.

Justina Rojas, another inhabitant of the end of the island, also supported the claim and added that a reduction in the cost could translate into an "improvement for the population." "I find it expensive because 110 CUP in a gas balita (...) lasts a month."

According to environmental reports, the sale of gas released does not solve the problems existing in homes in the eastern province. Most homes have an annual allotment of two cylinders, which forces families to cook with electricity.

For Francisca a possible solution would be to lower prices, since this product is not a "luxury", but a necessity.

"It is not that they give it to us, or that they put it to seven pesos but (...) in this neighborhood everyone is retired and everyone has bought their balita because they have the need, because that is not luxury, it is a necessity "

"Not everyone has possibilities for that, it's true. We dont have it. I do not have it, but I'm going to take steps to buy it, "said neighbor Pedro Sánchez.

According to the statements collected, there are still people to acquire the "balita" to have not reached. Above all, due to the high demand and the extension of the queues.

This problem is not exclusive of the Guantanamera localities, last May the official media reported the sale of the "balitas" of gas at 400 CUP. Again, this provoked comments from Cubans who considered that this was an article of first necessity and, therefore, should not cost more than half of the salary of any worker.

According to a report published in 2017 by the National Office of Statistics and Information of Cuba, the average monthly salary on the Island during 2016 was 740 pesos, which is equivalent to 29.60 dollars.

While the minimum pension for a retiree in the island is around 242 CUP per month, after the Government increased the salary in November. More than 157,000 labor retirees charged less than that, the minimum was set at 200 CUP. The increase benefited 99 thousand families, according to official figures.

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