Cuba Blames the US for the Instability in the Delivery of Subsidized Food

The second episode of the program ’From the Presidency’ was broadcast this April 3, 2024 / Presidency Cuba/YouTube/Screen Capture

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, 5 April 2024, Havana — Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, blamed the “recrudescence” of the United States’ economic embargo, this Thursday, for the “difficult situation” in the delivery of subsidized products through the ration card.

The president dedicated the second episode of the program Desde la Presidencia – broadcast on YouTube – to the “difficulties” in acquiring, from abroad, the products that are distributed in the so-called supply booklet, through the rationing system in force for more than 60 years on the Island.

According to Díaz-Canel, his Government spends about 230 million dollars monthly to guarantee products – rice, coffee, sugar, grains, among others – and distribute them in more than 12,000 bodegas (ration stores).

“It is a titanic task that the country is undertaking,” commented Díaz-Canel, accompanied by the head of Internal Trade, Betsy Díaz, and the first vice minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Oscar Pérez-Oliva Fraga.

Díaz-Canel acknowledged that people’s opinion about the ration booklet is “very critical and very negative,” especially due to the delays in deliveries and the decrease in quantities.

In recent weeks, the Cuban authorities have faced problems in producing subsidized bread in the basic basket due to a lack of imported flour

In the last 20 years, the rations that have decreased the most are coffee and sugar, both produced nationally, according to a study recently carried out by EFE.

In this regard, Díaz-Canel stated that “the last two years have been very complex for distribution” due to “the lack of financing to pay for freight with the loads and the lack of fuel to distribute the products once they are in the Cuban port.”

In this regard, the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade commented that “the inclusion of Cuba in the list of States sponsoring terrorism – prepared by the US Department of State – has been a strong blow to the finances” of the country.

Recently, Cuba formally requested powdered milk from the UN World Food Program for the first time in order to continue subsidizing this product for children under seven years of age, as revealed by EFE.

The authorities have recognized that if there is a lack of milk, the problem is not only a shortage of money to bring it from abroad. The Government has been unable to guarantee national milk in a normal way, through supporting livestock farming to produce liquid milk.

In recent weeks, the regime has also faced problems in producing subsidized bread in the basic basket due to a lack of imported flour.

The food shortage was one of the triggers for the massive anti-government protests on 11 July 2021 (’11J’), the largest in decades, and the most recent on March 17 of this year in several cities in the country.


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