Cuba opens online store with cultural twist

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The Independent Online

Communist Cuba unveiled an online store with a cultural twist Wednesday offering everything from books by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara T-shirts to designer shower curtains and music downloads.

"It is really the biggest online selection of (Cuban) culture, and all the areas of the arts are represented," manager Teresita Espino was quoted as saying in Rebel Youth newspaper.

The new site, www.mallcubano.com, even features a clothing line from the Compay Segundo brand, named after the late star of the Buena Vista Social Club who died in 2003.

The government clearly has targeted the massive expat Cuban community - more than 1.25 million people of Cuban origin and descent live in the United States alone - offering specials for Mother's Day and delivery in Cuba.

The prices - 32 dollars for a pair of men's jeans or 41 dollars for a linen guayabera shirt - are not terribly inexpensive but still out of the reach of the vast majority of Cuba's 11 million people. Items can be bought in euros and dollars, but not in Cuban pesos.

Cubans make an average of less than 20 dollars a month.

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