July 4, 2020

Cuba rules out blackouts as a result of its fuel crisis

Cuba will not suffer power outages as a result of the energy crisis due to the reduction in the arrival of fuel to the country in the next three weeks, said Monday in Havana, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Raúl García Barreiro, in a special television intervention.

The minister acknowledged that in recent days there have been brief "blackouts" in Havana and other regions – "as in any other country," he said – but linked them to specific problems in substations and ruled out that electricity generation is insufficient .

The arrival of diesel fuel to Cuba was interrupted on Tuesday and only one more ship will arrive until October, a situation that affects transport and industrial activities and has caused fears of possible power outages, since most of the country's electricity production It comes from oil.

"If you have to do a blackout program, you will be informed in each of the provinces, but we are working so that there are no blackouts," said García Barreiro, who accompanied the president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, on the special television program for evaluate this "situation" and propose savings measures.

The minister asked the "people", which consumes 60% of the electricity in Cuba, reduce energy consumption in their homes and move their activities "out of peak hours", with "solidarity" initiatives such as turning off a 20-watt bulb in that stretch of greater energy demand.

On the other hand, the head of Cuban Economy, Alejandro Gil, explained the Government's measures to save energy "during the next 15 or 20 days", until in October the situation normalizes with the resumption of diesel fuel arrivals to the country .

Gil stressed that the production of steel and cement will be reduced, among other industrial activities that require a high energy contribution, while tourism will not be affected as a priority sector and essential source of foreign exchange in the country.

The authorities will give priority, in the allocation of fuel, to the production of food and its distribution to stores, and to guarantee basic sanitary and educational services.

The minister also ruled out, as the president did yesterday, that Cuba is on the verge of another "special period" like the one that in the 1990s caused, among other serious effects, constant power outages, food shortages and goods , and the collapse of urban and interurban transport networks.

As for transport, the effects have already been noticed this week with more people on the street "asking for a bottle" (as Cubans call hitchhiking), overflowing city buses, a large part of the gas stations with closed and long diesel pumps queues where they still serve.

Even so, the authorities say that the supply of diesel for private cars will not cease, although urban and interurban public transport by road and rail has been restricted to minimum services.

The president and the ministers insisted today to blame the crisis on the United States Government, which they accuse of trying to prevent the arrival of fuel to the island through pressures on the shipping companies that transport crude oil from Venezuela, the largest partner and supporter of Cuba .

. (tagsToTranslate) Cuba (t) discards (t) blackouts (t) consequence (t) fuel

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