Cuba temporarily lifted import duties from essential items

The Caribbean island of Cuba has provisionally lifted import duties on - food, medicine and other essentials items following the ongoing unrest in the country. As of Monday, there would be no limit on such goods brought in by the travellers until the end of the year.

Cuba: The Caribbean island of Cuba has provisionally lifted import duties on – food, medicine and other essentials items following the ongoing unrest in the country. As of Monday, there would be no limit on such goods brought in by the travellers until the end of the year.

Thousands of people took to the streets on Sunday in protests over food and medicine shortages, price increases and against the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Cuban government. One demand that the government kept was for people who are arriving in Cuba to bring in supplies without paying customs duties.

More than 100 protesters have been arrested nationwide since the unrest began on Sunday. The government authorities have also confirmed that one man had died during the turmoil in the protest on Tuesday.

Unauthorised demonstrations are illegal in the country, and anti-government protests are rare. The Prime Minister of the Caribbean island – Manuel Marrero Cruz, announced that the change on Wednesday at a meeting broadcast on state television.

“It was a demand made by many travellers, and it was important to take this decision. The government would assess things after 31 December,” the prime minister asserted.

For now, the tourists to the Caribbean island of Cuba can take up to 10 kg of medicine into the nation tax-free. However, they must pay customs duties on the limited quantity of food and personal hygiene supplies they are permitted to bring in.

It is unclear the effect such a customs change would have. Only a few people are travelling to the Caribbean island currently following the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

After the announcement was made, government critic and journalist – Yoani Sanchez tweeted, “No, we don’t want crumbs. We want freedom, shortly after the announcement. Blood wasn’t spilled on Cuban streets in order to import a few extra suitcases.”