The Cuban government is grappling with difficult decisions as it faces an economic crisis. In light of a contraction in the economy and soaring inflation, President Miguel Díaz-Canel has announced that prices for fuel and electricity may need to be increased or rations for basic supplies reduced.
President Díaz-Canel emphasized the necessity of these measures during challenging times, following the revelation by the Minister of Economy that Cuba's economy shrank by 1% to 2% this year while experiencing an inflation rate of around 30%. The tourism industry, which serves as the main source of income for the country, and farm production have both been particularly impacted.
Asserting that these actions are not part of a neoliberal plot against the people, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz stated that due to economic difficulties, the government is considering raising prices for gasoline, electricity, and gas, or alternatively reducing the quantity of food and other essentials distributed through government ration books.
These statements were made during the concluding sessions of Cuba's National Assembly of People’s Power, which functions as the country's congress.
The economic crisis has already driven hundreds of thousands of individuals to leave Cuba in pursuit of opportunities in the United States. Though lines at gasoline stations had recently begun to shorten, news of possible price hikes could trigger a rush to stock up on fuel.
Alberto Corujo, a 54-year-old driver who was waiting in a long line at a gas station in Havana, revealed that he had been unable to get gas since the announcement was made. Mercy García, a secretary at a state-owned business, acknowledged the challenging situation faced by people from all walks of life, citing stagnant wages and skyrocketing prices.
Despite efforts to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, tourist visits to Cuba remain at only 64% compared to 2019 levels. Coupled with a decline in sugar production, the country has had to resort to importing food.
The Cuban government finds itself at a critical juncture, forced to make tough choices as it grapples with economic woes and seeks to address the needs of its people.
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