In December 2013, the media was abuzz about a new wholesale market venue ("El Trigal") on the outskirts of Havana.
Here's how CBS News hyped it:
"Gone are the muddy field, lettuce wilting under the sun and sacks of rice soaked by a sudden downpour.
From now on, business would be conducted in an enormous, well-lit terminal run by ten men in bright red tee-shirts with the word 'cooperative' blazoned across the back.
El Trigal market is not just a new form of commercializing agricultural products. The market itself is something new to have emerged from the economic reforms being rolled out by President Raul Castro. It's one of a still limited number of non-agricultural cooperatives approved by the government that previously controlled all food distribution."
And here's how the D.C.-based, Castro-friendly, Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA), propagated it:
"Our visit to El Trigal, the first wholesale produce market in Cuba, provided a glimpse of Cuba’s future mixed economy. El Trigal is located on the outskirts of Havana and opened in December 2013. In the market, we saw evidence of the emerging role of non-state cooperatives and the growing importance of market, rather than central planning mechanisms, in distributing agricultural goods to both private and public enterprises."
This week, the Castro regime announced that El Trigal was being shut down and the agricultural cooperative was being dissolved due to "a group of irregularities."
Meanwhile, farmers have been scrambling to hide leftover products due to fear of further confiscation.
Below is what El Trigal looked like this week.
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