The Blackouts Cost the Cuban Minister of Energy and Mines his Position

Liván Arronte, recently dismissed as Minister of Energy and Mines, in an appearance on the Mesa Redonda [Roundtable] TV program. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 17 October 2022 — The Cuban Minister of Energy and Mines, Liván Arronte Cruz, and the director of the Electric Union of Cuba (UNE), Jorge Armando Cepero Hernández, were dismissed from their respective positions this Monday. Without mentioning the names of those dismissed, in a brief note, Cubadebate reported that Vicente de la O Levy will be the new minister, and Alfredo López Valdés, the new director of the UNE.

“Both were general directors of the Electric Union at other times. Likewise, Alfredo López Valdés previously held the position of Minister of Energy and Mines, and of Industries,” the text states.

These dismissals make Cubans fear that the promised solution to energy shortages will not occur in December.

The deposed Arronte, who had been in office since 2019, had become in recent months a media figure, in the middle of the unprecedented energy crisis that the country suffers, being the main figure of authority who went out to give explanations about the daily scheduled blackouts that the population suffers, for example in programs such as Mesa Redonda.

It should be noted that this ministry is under the orders of Deputy Prime Minister Ramiro Valdés.

The UNE had predicted, again, a huge energy deficit, which on Monday would cause a “simultaneous blackout” of 41% of the service. According to his daily statement, the electricity generation capacity at peak time will be 1,941 megawatts (MW) for a maximum demand of 3,200 MW, and the deficit would be 1,259 MW, 65% of the maximum generation capacity. However, the “allocation” — which will be disconnected — the state estimates, will be more: 1,329 MW.

There are 11 nonfunctional thermoelectric units. Last Friday, less than 24 hours after it was connected, Antonio Guiteras left the system again, in Matanzas.

With the blackouts come numerous protests. Project Inventory has registered 176 since July 14. The Prosecutor’s Office has already threatened to charge the protesters with “vandalism,” as they did after the mass protests of July 11, 2021.

On October 7, the organization Justice 11J published an update on the detainees, based on the statements of their relatives and other information. According to the NGO, they will be prosecuted for the crimes of public disorder, contempt and resistance, although it cannot accurately provide the number of people imprisoned, which is around 30 according to several organizations.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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