Aggravation Inflames Spirits in the Gas Lines in Havana

Those waiting in line at the gas station look serious as they talk about the daily vicissitudes that people suffer. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 4 May 2023 — Hundreds of people milled around at dawn this Thursday on the corner of San Rafael and San Francisco, in Central Havana. They were part of the large line of people waiting to fill up at the nearby gas station on Infanta Street.

They talked about many topics, but far from the idyllic image that the official press offered a few weeks ago, in an article that outraged Cubans and that extolled the opportunity to “establish bridges of friendship” in the endless lines at gas stations, they did so with serious gestures, discussing the daily vicissitudes that people are suffering.

One had turned off his motorcycle and complained about having to drag it to the station, while another complained about the bread situation. The guy behind him talked about “Díaz-Canel’s lies in the news.” Many were silent, scowling; none of them protested out loud. However, people were upset, and there was a feeling of contained violence in the environment.

Watching them was a massive operation of police and “prevention” brigades of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, something unprecedented for this type of line.

As the authorities have done on other occasions when shortages have increased the number of people in lines, this one at the San Rafael gas station was “distributed” onto adjacent streets, out of the way, to disguise the magnitude of the problem.

The line at the San Rafael gas station was “distributed” onto adjacent streets, out of the way, to disguise its magnitude. (14ymedio)

This was not the only “organizational measure” that the provincial government took in the face of the May Day events, postponed for this Friday, in which numerous foreign guests are expected to participate. Tribuna de La Habana echoes the suspension of the sale of fuel at six gas stations in El Vedado, from seven in the evening on Thursday to ten the next morning.

The measure affects service stations at 3rd and 12th, Riviera, Tángana, Vista al Mar, Rampa and G and 25th. The official note says that “customers who are waiting at these stations will be guaranteed their same place in line according to the established records or listings, and, for security reasons, there can be no parking of vehicles in these places or their surroundings at the aforementioned time.”

“If that happens here in San Rafael, I don’t know what I would do; I’ve been here for two days now,” commented a taxi driver, desperate. Another driver responded: “Maybe we’re the ones who start the next social explosion.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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