Cuba improvises under oil sanctions

Havana farm

On Cuba’s farms, oxen are again tilling the soil as tractors are paralyzed by oil shortages. President Miguel D√≠az-Canel has imposed fuel rationing, among other¬†emergency energy-saving measures and¬†price controls on food. As in the “special period” a generation ago, Cubans are having to line up for gasoline and public transport.¬†The island has been running on just 30% of petroleum deliveries since last¬†September, as the US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on more maritime firms and vessels shipping Venezuelan oil to Cuba. In February, the Cuban government resorted to purchasing¬†a ship carrying fuel after its owner refused to put into port on the island for fear of incurring US sanctions. “We have reached the point of having to buy a ship in the immediate vicinity of our shores‚Ķbecause the ship owner has refused to dock,”¬†Transportation Minister Eduardo Rodriguez told state television.

The sanctions are also taking a grave toll in Venezuela.¬†Also in February, Caracas asked the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate US¬†officials for crimes against humanity. Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza charged that¬†sanctions constitute “a death sentence for tens of thousands of Venezuelans per year.”¬†(COHA, March 28;¬†The Guardian, March 18; Havana Times, Feb. 26; Reuters, Sept. 24)

Photo: CounterVortex