The Permanent "Temporary Situation"

The lines to buy fuel in Havana have been extended again this week. (Alejandro Yanes)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Marcelo Hernández, Havana, 8 November 2019 — In the last week the long lines have returned to the gas stations in Havana, but this time without prior official announcement of a bad energy “temporary situation” or of an oil ship that is late reaching the island. The deficit has not been accompanied by appearances of ministers on television, speeches by Miguel Díaz-Canel or newspaper headlines calling on Cubans to “resist.” It is a shortage without narrative.

Although the national press does not mention the problem, in the long lines, which extend hundreds of yards, the annoyed customers endlessly speculate and try to find answers to what is going on. There is no shortage of the pranksters who say that “the Venezuelan ship has flat tires” and that is why it has not been able to arrive on time, or those who, in the tone of international analysts, assure that after the president’s trip to Russia, now “the freighters come from further away.”

Jokes aside, the most shared feeling in the streets is that the fluctuations in the fuel supply are a problem that has come to stay for a long time in the Cuban reality. A difficulty that does not seem to have a medium- or long-term solution. One that is as long as the lines that are now formed just outside the service stations.


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