Without Russian Oil and With Less From Venezuela, the Lines Return to Cuba’s Gas Stations

At the gas station on 17th and L, the line had to be split on both sides of the street / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, May 23, 2024 — For three days, the lines have returned to the gas stations in Havana, where vehicles once again occupy more than five blocks, in an image that has not been seen for months .

This Thursday, in two of the normally busiest establishments in El Vedado, 25 and G, and 17 and L, the panorama was similar. The kilometre-long line at 25th and G was, according to the driver of an almendrón, “just like in the old days”: he went down G, turned onto 23rd and then continued on F for several more blocks. At 17th and L, the line had to be split between both sides of the street.

El Tángana, another of the usually well-stocked service centers, was also bustling with waiting customers. It was in vain, however, because there was no fuel in the morning hours.

At the Infanta and San Rafael gas stations, the cars were also divided into two lines, one for each street / 14ymedio

As for Centro Habana, at the Infanta and San Rafael gas stations, the cars were also divided into two lines: one up San Rafael that almost reached the Calixto García hospital and another along Infanta that turned onto Zanja Street.

The owner of a motorcycle, who had obtained gasoline in a plastic container and was filling his vehicle near Infanta, indicated the obvious diagnosis: “There is no fuel.”

The situation could be seen coming since the release, at the beginning of the month, of the monthly Reuters report on Venezuelan oil exports.

Although the British agency does not reveal the exact amount that Caracas sends to Havana, from ship monitoring, University of Texas researcher Jorge Piñón calculates that the Island received, in three tankers, a total load of about 840,000 barrels of oil. This represents 28,000 barrels per day (bpd), a considerable drop compared to the monthly average of the previous year, when Cuba received 57,000 bpd.

The owner of a motorcycle, who had obtained gasoline in a plastic container, expressed the obvious diagnosis: “There is no fuel” / 14ymedio

According to Reuters, Venezuelan exports in April fell 38% compared to March – which had already registered a sharp decline – after Washington’s partial reestablishment of sanctions on the Nicolás Maduro regime.

For months, this newspaper has been tracking the movement of the María Cristina, the Petion and the Alicia — the three ships that also arrived in April — whose routes between the Venezuelan and Cuban port terminals are constant. Regarding another well-known ship, the Eco Fleet – which in mid-April, after spending weeks in Cuban territorial waters without unloading the 40,000 tons of diesel it brought from Tunisia, left for Jamaica – Piñón stated to 14ymedio at the beginning of May that it was back on the coast of the Island, in front of the Cuban capital.

In April, the team of researchers led by Piñón did not detect any Russian ships entering Cuban ports, which may explain the current fuel shortage. Donations from not only Venezuela and Russia, but also from Mexico, are clearly insufficient to help the Island get out of its almost permanent energy crisis.

The long line at El Tángana was in vain: there was no fuel today / 14ymedio


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