Cuba makes concession to protesters, lets travelers bring in food duty-free

Havana (AFP) –


Travelers arriving in Cuba can now bring in food, medicine and other essentials without paying customs, the government said Wednesday in a concession to angry and unprecedented street protests.

Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said there would be no limit placed on these goods and the change will be in effect until the end of the year.

Cubans took to the streets in droves on Sunday in an explosion of anger over economic hardship marked by shortages of food, electricity and other essentials.

One of the demands of the protesters was for people arriving in Cuba to be able to bring in food, medicine and personal hygiene items from abroad without paying customs duties.

One person has died and more than 100 were arrested, including independent journalists and opposition activists, since the anti-government protests broke out in the communist-ruled island over the worst economic crisis in decades.

Cuba has blamed a half-century of US economic pressure for the economic crisis, but the downturn also comes amid strict measures against Covid-19 and a rise in virus cases.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Tuesday said the United States had incited social unrest through a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #SOSCuba.