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Old 12-02-2023, 08:24 PM
Location: Somewhere on the Moon.
9,768 posts, read 14,606,230 times
Reputation: 10032


Whoa! What happen to the embargo?

Apparently, Costco open its one and only store near Havana in Cuba. This Cuban lady went to see it herself. There are some differences with US Costco (in several countries in Central & South America + Caribbean is PriceSmart which basically is Costco with a different name, the founders are all Americans ex-employees of Costco ):

1. It's "hidden" from the road. Unless you know the store is there, you're going to miss it.

2. They only accept Visa & MasterCard emitted in the USA, not in Cuba. Plus, apparently they don't accept cash. (Cubans, forget that Costco is in your country, it isn't for you! Go back to your shortages due to the embargo - or they say that's the reason for the shortages-.)

3. There is very strong security and surveillance.

Notice the products, unbelievable. What happen to the embargo? Socialism? Why all these American brands (while Goya is a Latino brand and they have factories in the US, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic; their headquarters is in New Jersey, USA. While you will not find Goya anything in most Americans homes, it's an American brand)? Why all these capitalistic brands?

Shoppers here are either foreigners living in Cuba, Cubans living in the USA and Cuban-Americans, and possibly high ranking government people. Who else can get the credit cards this place accepts for payments?

The video is in Spanish, but look at all the American brands for sale. These are things not available to the average Cuban that has to face all sorts of shortages. Look at the abundance of this capitalistic store in socialist Cuba! They also have products from other countries (Nutella from the UK, Malta Morena from Dominican Republic, etc.)

Also notice most things are in English in Spanish speaking Cuba.


Last edited by AntonioR; 12-02-2023 at 08:40 PM..
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Old 12-03-2023, 07:11 AM
Location: Dayton OH
5,640 posts, read 11,198,029 times
Reputation: 13086
It's not a Costco, it is a big warehouse store like a Costco, with some Kirkland brand products that were bought at a Costco in the US, Canada or Mexico and put in a container and sent to Cuba.

IMO, this store is targeting Cuban Americans who visit their relatives in Cuba. They bring their Visa or Mastercard credit card and buy stuff for their family members in Cuba. It is a whole lot easier than buying stuff outside Cuba and trying to ship it to their relatives in Cuba. The video hints that the owners are based in Miami, and I would not be surprised if they are Cuban Americans. I am sure the Cuban government gets a nice percentage of the sales in US dollars via a sales tax and/or some sort of profit sharing.
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Old 12-04-2023, 08:18 AM
Location: Somewhere on the Moon.
9,768 posts, read 14,606,230 times
Reputation: 10032
That makes sense. The Kirland brand further made me think it was an actual Costco since that brand is exclusive of them. It's still amazing how a store such as this can exist in Cuba which proports to be a socialism "paradise" and with the US embargo.

How they get so many US products in Cuba? I think these are products not seen in other stores.
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Old 01-03-2024, 12:09 PM
835 posts, read 318,398 times
Reputation: 917
There is no food embargo from the USA. USA is the largest exporter of food to Cuba, but it is sold to the Cuban government. And the government then supplies the government owned stores. If that store in the video is privately owned it is likely the first of it's kind in Cuba.
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