Queues to refuel in Cuba after increasing the price of gasoline by more than 400%

Queues to refuel in Cuba after increasing the price of gasoline by more than 400%

Many Cubans, who started this Friday with the price of fuel quintupled (increase of more than 400%), received the new rate with doubts about how they will buy gasoline and with resignation in the face of a panorama in which “the queue [para abastecerse] remains the same,” according to what they told EFE.

“Increasing prices is never the solution to the problem, nor does it eliminate queues. The queue remains the same,” Eduardo Fernández lamented with EFE, while pointing out the long line at a gas station in the Havana neighborhood of Nuevo Vedado. one of the few that were supplying this day.

The measure was originally scheduled for February 1, but a cyber attack on the payment system digital technologies of a state company delayed its entry into force for a month.

EFE was able to verify that not all gas stations were selling fuel this Saturday morning. Hours earlier, the state company Cimex warned of a service interruption “necessary to carry out the procedures required for the price modification.”

The increase is part of a major adjustment plan presented in December by the Cuban Government with the purpose of “reboost” an economy mired in a serious crisiss, both due to errors in management – ​​recognized by the Government itself – and due to United States sanctions and the ravages of the pandemic.

Regular gasoline went from the current 25 pesos to 132 (from 0.21 dollars to 1.1, at the official exchange rate for individuals). This means that filling a 40-liter tank will cost 5,280 pesos (about 44 dollars), when the average state salary barely exceeds 4,200 CUP (35 dollars).

This, on a daily basis, represents a problem for Cubans like Fernández, who commented that “when you throw it [comparas] against the family economy, the income will never be enough to keep a car driving.”

“It is true that the price of fuel in Cuba was below international standardsbut also a person’s salary is below international standards,” added this 57-year-old philologist.

Cuban life becomes more expensive

This March 1, the increase in the electricity rate also came into effectalthough the announced increase in interprovincial transportation (up to 600%) will not be applied for the moment, nor will the 25% increase in the balita (cylinder) of liquefied gas.

“What we have proposed increase 25% of the electricity rate to those consumers who are above 500 kWh is very far from the average consumption of the country. Last year, which was characterized by consumption much higher than previous years, 107,570 customers had consumption above 500?kWh, 2.7% of the total

The adjustment plan also contemplates a new devaluation of the peso – still in the study phase – and the progressive end of the universal subsidies to products to move to a system of aid for people considered vulnerable by the Government.

Basic salaries in Cuba have been depreciating over time while inflation has risen. The same way, The local currency has lost ground against the dollar in daily life, being a refuge for remittance recipients in the face of instability.

The Minister of Finance and Prices, Vladimir Regueiro, defended that the Executive is “aware” of the “inflationary impact” of the increase in fuel prices, but clarified that there is “a group of measures” to “attenuate” this situationaccording to the official Cubadebate web portal.

“The State may have had the need to raise prices, but “I didn’t think it would be at these levels.”Andrés Pérez, another of the Cubans who was waiting in a line to get gas this Friday, told EFE.

This retiree from the Ministry of the Interior complained about the possibility that the increase will also affect the prices of products on the street. “I hope that the economists who evaluated the issue have taken into account that “Life for Cubans is going to become more expensive.”lament.

Parked cars

“There are many retirees, like me, or doctors, who with their years of effort have a car and are going to have to park it, because “It is not possible that someone who lives on one salary can pay for 40 liters of fuel today.”he added.

For Ramón Calvo, 59 years old, the increase in fuel prices is “a little excessive for the salaries of the common citizen.” “I wish they would rectify it at some point”.

The Cuban Government assured that the bulk of the measures would only be applied when the conditions were met and that vulnerable groups would be supported.

Cuba closed 2023 with a contraction of the gross domestic product (GDP) of between 1% and 2% and announced that the public deficit this year will be 18.5%.

The country’s economic situation is reflected in the shortage of basic goods (food, fuel, medicine), rampant inflation, frequent blackouts and a growing dollarization of the economy. The consequent social discontent It has generated protests and the largest wave of migration in decades.


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