Cuban pensioners dealt another blow by the government. This time they beat, as they say, “on the living” – literally a few days later, namely from September 2010, this group of the population was deprived of the right to preferential purchase of cigarettes. A little earlier, pensioners were already deprived of subsidies for peas and potatoes. The Cuban government explains the upcoming abolition of benefits for the purchase of cigarettes by the need to save budget funds. According to officials, cigarettes are by no means an essential item, and therefore benefits for their purchase can be safely canceled. It is worth recalling that earlier Cuban pensioners had the right to buy four packs of cigarettes every month at a reduced price. Moreover, all citizens of the Island of Freedom, without exception, whose age exceeded 55 years, had the opportunity to purchase cheaper cigarettes. It was estimated that the subsidy for cigarettes covered about 75 percent of the cost of one full pack of this, perhaps the most popular and sought-after potion in Cuba. It is worth noting that the cost of one pack of cigarettes by European, and even Russian, standards is by no means high. On average, a pack of cigarettes on Liberty Island costs about 0.33 dollars (in terms of Russian money – 10 rubles). Unfortunately for most Cubans, the removal of tobacco subsidies for retirees is only a small part of the government’s global plan to eliminate subsidies in the island nation. So, in November last year, the Cuban authorities canceled subsidies for peas and potatoes. I must say that this measure dealt a very tangible blow to the pockets of Cuban pensioners. It is not yet known whether the cuts in utility benefits will affect the country, where the weather is warm for all 12 months of the year.
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