Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 22, 2014

Having the Goods on Cuba

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The visual story coming out of Cuba already is one of contrast between capitalist superiority over communist scarcity. Responding to President Obama’s Cuban pivot, Reuters delivers this potshot from what reads in the caption like a state-rationed store in Havana. Call this latest photo-installment a dig at the communist version of a big box store. For US audiences looking to reassure themselves that capitalism still reigns supreme when it comes to stocking the shelves, this photo provides a timely tonic.

Like the Castro brothers, the weight of this photograph pulls decisively toward the left. So what we’re supposed to be seeing here is what the market looks like when it’s under the heavy hand of state regulation. A hat tip, then, to this photo for visually cueing–just in time for holiday shopping in “free market” society–shopworn correlations between the political left, market over-regulation, and downward trajectory.

— Philip Perdue

(photo: Reuters/Stringer. caption: Samples of products for sale are seen in a subsidized store, or “bodega” where Cubans can buy basic products with a ration book they receive annually from the government, in Havana December 18, 2014.)

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