Cuba’s president warns that energy cutbacks are looming

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Cuba’s president warned Wednesday night that the country faces a looming energy crisis due to lack of diesel fuel, but he hopes to avoid blackouts in coming days.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel blamed U.S. sanctions for shortages and warned Cubans to prepare to see immediate effects from the lack of fuel.

“There may be problems with the distribution of products that depend on diesel-fueled transport, in public transport and in energy generation, which we’re trying to take measures to avoid,” he said on national television.

Díaz-Canel spoke after several days of noticeable cutbacks in public transportation, which caused long lines at peak times.

“I understand that there is concern but we are not in a special period,” Diaz-Canel said, using the Cuban term for the island’s economic crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of its subsidies.

Although details of the measures were not specified, the president and the minister of economy, Alejandro Gil, said there would be a series of noticeable cutbacks in coming days. They said some state-run industries would cease production, and even called for greater use of animal-powered transportation.

Díaz-Canel cited increased U.S. sanctions on the island, which include measures against shipping firms that transport oil to the island, particularly from its main ally, Venezuela.

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