14ymedio, Havana, January 28, 2024 — The sale of fuel has become a picturesque business in the Havana municipality of Guanabacoa but, above all, an illegal trade that, in plain view, has grown. This Saturday, a “Cupet house” was dismantled by State Security and the police. An individual, identified as Ángel, was engaged in the resale of gasoline and diesel. The arrest happened a few days after 14ymedio pointed out multiple irregularities in the management of the gas stations.
“He thought he had a gas station in his house and could continue to profit from the needs of the people, but the police pounced on him,” El Cubano Fiel (the Faithful Cuban) published on his Facebook page, managed by State Security, and this was later reposted by the Council of the Municipal Administration of Guanabacoa.
“Neighbors on San Francisco Street between Máximo Gómez and Corral Falso commented that Ángel wanted to continue selling the fuel illegally, and when he loaded the fuel as usual in a vehicle, the police arrived and stopped him.”
Ángel “was wheeling and dealing for a while, selling fuel ’on the left’ without standing in the annoying lines at the gas stations like other drivers,” says State Security. The post also shows photos of police officers in the home of the reseller, who had “a large amount of fuel and plastic containers for storage.” You can also see some sealed boxes guarded by police officers, but no more details of the arrest have been offered.
Ángel “was wheeling and dealing for a while, selling fuel ‘on the left’ without standing in the annoying lines at the gas stations like other drivers”
The text, in addition, was shared on Telegram by Esther, the boss of the Guanabacoa gas stations, in charge of organizing the fuel line and the subject of several 14ymedio reports. The drivers, in order to buy fuel, must be noted down on a detailed list that the local government ordered prepared during the June 2023 crisis, she said.
For Esther herself, as for the hundreds of Guanabacoa customers, Ángel’s arrest is not a surprise. On the same Telegram channel, several customers complained that the workers at the gas station ignore the endless line of drivers, and that “they have accepted money even from tourists, mocking those who stay there” night and day said one customer last week.
But the illegalities start from the same list that Esther manages. For example, in the document that collects the more than 3,600 customers of the Los Paraguas gas station, on January 11, this newspaper found that 114 are repeated up to four times and 77 do not have a license plate – a requirement that the woman always demands. In the case of the Corral Falso service center, where almost 3,000 names were registered, there are 168 that are repeated up to four times and 40 without a plate. About 1,003 customers appeared on both lists.
According to Esther herself, days later, “the government of Guanabacoa took control of the line” after there “were too many profiteers, plus no one denounced them.” The organization was reactivated shortly before the announcement of the increase in fuel prices, which will come into force next week.
The price of gasoline and diesel on the Island will be five times greater from February 1. The cost of premium, gasoline will go from 30 pesos per liter to 156 ($1.30, at the official exchange rate) while the diesel will rise from the current 27.5 pesos to 150 ($1.25). Vicente La O Levy, Minister of Energy and Mines, said that the new measures will “gradually achieve a stable supply,” although he added that “it cannot be insured from the first day of implementation.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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