Gasoline and diesel shortages paralyse parts of Cuba

17th April 2023

President Díaz-Canel has said that the shortages of fuel that have brought parts of Cuba to a standstill and affected tourism have occurred because some countries that supply the island under contract “are going through complex energy situations and have not been able to fulfil the commitments made.”

Cuba’s President was speaking after a serious shortage of gasoline caused a near paralysis of transportation in many parts of Cuba, especially Havana. The issue has led to long queues at filling stations, additional difficulties for Cubans using already struggling public transport systems to reach work and is having a negative impact on some aspects of tourism. In addition, Canal Caribe has reported that Union Electrica (UNE) had begun attributing lengthier blackouts to “fuel limitations” as well as faulty units and ongoing maintenance.  Other reports indicates that visitors are having difficulties obtaining taxis and refuelling hire cars.

Commenting during a visit to Villa Clara on the latest challenge facing the government and country, Díaz-Canel said that at present Cuba has daily coverage of less than 400 tons of fuel for all activities compared to the “500 and 600 tons of gasoline per day that the country consumes”.

“At the moment”, he said, “we still don’t have a clear idea of how we are going to get out of this situation.” 

In his address, carried on state television, he stressed that the situation has nothing to do with inefficiencies or energy problems but was due to “non-compliance for objective reasons by the countries that supply us with fuel.”

“In the case of diesel, it is different. In addition to the cyclical situations that are presented to us, we had guaranteed a shipment that assured us continuity,” Díaz-Canel told Cubans. He went on however, to note that a supply vessel arriving in Santiago de Cuba had broken down, leaving no time for it to continue to other ports in Cuba, “causing delays to fuel distribution.”

In a further indication of the significant problem Cuba now faces, he noted the programme of maintenance of thermoelectric plants to guarantee energy availability during the summer, plus those out of order, meant an increased reliance on distributed generation that consumes diesel. “Therefore, Cuba’s President said, “an important part of that diesel that we have used has gone into electricity generation.”

 “There are an important group of distributed generation blocks that have not been able to obtain diesel,” he said. This had affected an important part of the electrical supply.

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