News and Facts about Cuba

Fear Grows of a Possible Return to the Special Period

Fear Grows of a Possible Return to the Special Period / 14ymedio,
Zunilda Mata

14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 4 July 2016 – Along with high
temperatures, summer has begun in Cuba with cuts in electricity
consumption in state facilities, a gasoline shortage in the capital’s
gas stations, and a fear of the return of the Special Period. According
to sources consulted by 14ymedio, authorities have informed Communist
Party militants and some unions of a possible return of the hardships of
the nineties if the of , Nicolas Maduro, is forced to
leave power.

According to a source who has requested anonymity, a document
circulating in collective law firms since last month recommends
preparing for an increase in crime due to “economic problems and the
arrival of more travelers to the country.”

This Sunday, the signs of an economic slowdown were already felt with
the shortage of regular gasoline in most of the service stations managed
by the Fuel Marketing Company (Cupet) in the capital. At least 17 of 20
gas stations visited by this daily demonstrated a deficit of fuels.

A Cupet employee said by telephone that there is a “shortage crisis,”
although the official press has not made any reference to the matter.
The worker denied that the lack of gasoline was due to an imminent price
reduction, as rumored days before among the populace. “How are they
going to lower the price if there is none?” she admitted.

Cuba receives subsidies from Venezuela valued at approximately 10
billion dollars a year, including 66% of the petroleum that is consumed
on the Island.

With the drastic reduction that oil prices experienced in the
international market, Cuban consumers have waited months for a reduction
of gas prices in the retail market. Currently a liter of regular
gasoline sells for 1 CUC, while the same amount of special grade hovers
at 1.2 CUC.

The shortage of regular gasoline was repeated this Sunday at the Cupet
in Ciudad Deportiva on Via Blanca and Pizarro streets, and at the gas
station known as El Principal in the Boyeros district, and also at the
establishment on Ayestaran Street. At others, like El Forestal at
Independence Avenue and Santa Catalina, only special gasoline is sold at
the moment, the same as at the El Nuevo business on Porvenir Avenue in

“All morning from one place to another looking for regular gasoline, and
it’s lacking,” protested Omar Suarez, 58 years of age and driver of a
Russian-make Moskovich auto. The driver pointed out that such a thing
“has not been seen since the years of the deep Special Period” and
complained about having to buy special gasoline, which is more expensive
and not “of the quality that they advertise.”

The fuel scarcity has come with cuts in the working hours of state
facilities as a savings measure, together with stricter rules against
entities that exceed their electricity consumption quota. The meat
market in the Plaza Carlos III center was closed several days last week
with only a counter at the door for the sale of yogurt, chicken and

“We can’t keep the place open and all the refrigerators running because
we would be spending more than we earn from sales,” says one employee.
“The warehouse is almost empty, and it doesn’t pay if we don’t have
merchandise to put on the shelves.”

Translated by Mary Lou Keel

Source: Fear Grows of a Possible Return to the Special Period /
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata – Translating Cuba –

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