Cuba has recently experienced fuel shortages that worsened on Monday, April 24th when the government announced it would begin rationing fuel. According to the Associated Press, the fuel shortages are being attributed to Cuba experiencing problems receiving and refining crude oil.
Cuba has its own oil deposits, which it supplements with supplies from Mexico, Russia, and Venezuela. Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel recently said that Venezuela and Russia had failed to deliver fuel as agreed and that he did not know when the shortage would end.
Cuba is reportedly facing problems with regard to oil imports from Venezuela because the crude oil it normally receives contains a specific additive and the South American country has been facing shortages of that additive. Another contributing factor to the fuel shortage is Cuba’s old oil refineries no longer functioning at the same capacity as they are supposed to or did in the past.
The fuel shortage in the country is also attributed to the shortage of input problems according to Cuban authorities. On Monday, April 24th, a director at Cuban petroleum entity Cubapetroleo warned that the country was faced with a shortage of refinable crude oil. The fuel shortage led to government officials publishing a statement on social media platform Facebook, that fuel would only be sold to vehicles that provide public and basic services such as ambulances and hearses.
The fuel shortage has led to the cancellation of several events and activities. The Cuban National Symphony was scheduled to play a concert on Sunday, April 23rd but had to be canceled. Universities in the Villa Clara, Holguín, Sancti Spíritus, and Universidad Agraria de La Habana provinces were forced to temporarily cancel physical classes and instead offer them online.
Cuba annually hosts the May Day parade in Havana, which is a celebration of International Workers’ Day. This year, the parade was canceled due to the fuel shortage.
With the shortage of fuel in Cuba having started at the end of March, long queues at fuel service stations have subsequently become the norm. Cubans have resorted to joining WhatsApp groups to inform each other where fuel can be found. “I don’t have fuel, I can’t work,” said Lazaro Diaz, a delivery man. “I cannot make a living standing in a queue,” he added.