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How Cubans Face the Challenges of Power Outages

In the town of Bejucal, on the outskirts of Havana, there is a small café owned by Germán Martín. As power outages become more frequent, Martín strives to keep his business running.

While power cuts are a constant reality in Cuba, they have worsened in recent times. Unlike expected during this time of the year, where colder weather results in lower electricity demand and fewer blackouts, sometimes the electricity is interrupted for four or even six hours.

Martín comments that Cubans find ways to survive these power cuts, but they are still inconvenient and annoying. As he prepares food before sunset, he expresses his hope that the situation improves in the future.

While the Cuban government attributes the lack of fuel as the main cause of power outages, the scarcity affects virtually all aspects of daily life on the island. Gas stations have experienced long lines of cars seeking gasoline, and the power grid fails to meet more than a third of the total demand, causing blackouts in much of the country.

Although the government argues that U.S. sanctions complicate financial transactions and the acquisition of fuel, an analysis of fuel delivery and purchase data conducted by Reuters suggests that the problem might lie in internal infrastructure and logistics.

The Cuban economy requires approximately 125,000 barrels of fuel per day, including gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil for electricity generation. Cuba internally produces around 40,000 barrels of oil per day, mainly used for power generation, and also receives 57,000 barrels of crude oil and fuel from Venezuela daily, as well as an estimated 23,000 barrels per day from Mexico.

Despite having a total supply of approximately 129,000 barrels per day, which would more than cover the needs, the country faces internal logistical problems that hinder the proper distribution of fuel and the supply of electricity.

In view of the crisis, the Cuban government has proposed significantly raising fuel prices to curb demand and raise funds for the acquisition of larger volumes. However, due to a cyberattack, the price increase scheduled for February 1 has been postponed without a defined date.

As Cubans continue to face the challenges of power outages, it is clear that solutions are needed in both fuel supply and internal infrastructure to ensure a stable and reliable energy supply.

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