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Something Smells In Havana

The cost of cleanliness will rise in Cuba after its cash–strapped, communist government announced Wednesday that soap, toothpaste and detergent will be slashed from monthly ration books.

Cuba’s official Gazette said that effective Jan. 1, “personal cleanliness products” will join a growing list of products cut from the ration books that islanders have come to rely on for a small but steady supply of basic goods.

Cubans currently pay about 25 centavos, or about a penny, for a rationed bar of soap. They’ll soon have to fork out four to six pesos, according to the gazette.

The list of products available with the ration books has shrunk in recent months as the government trimmed items deemed nonessential. Cigarettes, salt, peas and potatoes have been cut. Sugar, beans, meat, rice, eggs, bread and other products remain.

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