Cuba Struggles as Venezuela Oil Subsidies Dwindle

Cuba (PanAm) – Blackouts on the Island Have Lasted Between Four and Eight Hours

Raúl Castro has decided to implement austerity measures in Cuba as the oil the Venezuelan government has been sending over the past years has decreased and is no longer sufficient to cover for public sector expenses.

According to news outlet Cubanet, island officials are trying to fight the fuel deficit by reducing consumption of oil and electricity by 20 percent, which means a partial paralyzing of production.

The measure has starting to circulate this week in the ministeries and companies linked to production. The measures have included … shutting worker’s kitchens where they still exist, the reduction of the work day from eight to five hours a day, the suspension of Saturday workdays and collective summer vacations.

Green oil. Image Source: Sergio Russo, Flickr, Creative Commons

Green oil.
Image Source: Sergio Russo, Flickr, Creative Commons

These measures are similar to those taken by Nicolás Maduro’s adminstration, as the Venezuelan government has also implemented electricity rationing and reduced working hours in the public sector.

According to Cubanet, “Cuba has started to feel the effects of an energy crisis associated with the reduction of oil imports coming from Venezuela and controls over fuel for government cars.”

The government hasn’t been the only one effected. Cuban neighborhoods have started experiencing blackout days lasting between four and eight hours.

You can add the persistence and depth of scarcity in the retail market to the shortage of fuel. This has happened in both establishments that sell in the local currencies, including the agricultural one, and those who sell in dollars. This has raised fear in the population of a return to a crisis period similar to that of the ’90s, provoked by the debacle of socialism in Eastern Europe.

The Cuban economy no longer fully depends on Venezuela for fuel, but it is the largest contributor of oil and therefore, one of its largest commercial partners. Whether Cuba falls back into an economic and energy crisis very much depends on the immediate future of Venezuela.

 

This report prepared by Sabrina Martin for PanAm Post.