• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Cuba says no fast repair as financial disaster drags on


May 26, 2023

HAVANA, Could 25 (Reuters) – There isn’t a fast repair for Cuba’s sputtering economic system, its economic system minister stated on Thursday, as inflation, gasoline shortages, plunging farm manufacturing and a money crunch drag on output and proceed to fan discontent within the communist-run island nation.

Economic system Minister Alejandro Gil, in an hour-long presentation earlier than newly elected lawmakers, stated there was too little international foreign money on the island to pay for coveted gasoline, meals and farm imports, which means Cuba would more and more scrape by with what it will probably produce at house.

“If we will´t produce it, we gained´t have it,” Gil informed lawmakers, referring particularly to some meals merchandise and urging legislators and municipalities to place renewed impetus on farm output this yr and subsequent.

A extreme financial disaster in Cuba, among the many worst since Fidel Castro´s 1959 revolution, has led to shortages of meals, gasoline and medication and contributed to a record-breaking exodus of migrants north to the USA.

Tourism, as soon as a key driver of much-needed international trade, has struggled to revive, with customer numbers between January and April this yr at solely half that of the identical interval in 2019, Gil stated.

That has left the nation wanting the international foreign money essential to import essential farming requirements like fertilizer and animal feed.

The manufacturing of pork for the state, for instance, plunged from a file 199.7 tonnes in 2017 to only 16 tonnes in 2022, Gil stated, as inputs dried up. Many vegetables and fruit have fared equally poorly, he stated.

Gasoline which may in any other case assist bolster farm manufacturing and ship items to market has been re-routed to electrical energy era, Gil stated. Cuba used almost twice as a lot diesel as deliberate to supply electrical energy within the first 4 months of 2023, the economic system minister added.

Hovering meals costs, on account of inefficiencies and dwindling manufacturing, have far outpaced the shopping for energy of most Cubans, Gil stated, leaving many with salaries wanting protecting their “fundamental wants.”

Cuba blames a Chilly Conflict-era U.S. commerce embargo for a lot of its woes, although high officers have more and more known as on Cubans to search out new methods to beat the sanctions.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood
Modifying by Invoice Berkrot

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