Cuba’s communist revolution is under increased pressure from US sanctions and a less-than-expected harvest season; with millions complaining of food shortages and long lines at super markets across the socialist country.
“Long lines outside shops with mostly bare shelves are increasingly common in Cuba, and the government has indeed signaled that things are going from bad to worse,” reports Reuters.
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel blamed the Trump administration on the shortages; saying Washington was engaged in “asphyxiating financial persecution that makes the import of goods and resources of primary necessity particularly difficult.”
“While the crisis will not be as bad as in the 1990s, it will have a worrying social impact on the most vulnerable households, which are already on subsistence salaries,” said Pavel Vidal, a Cuban economist.
“This could be a critical moment that generates the consensus necessary to apply changes,” said Vidal. “The government needs to give more space to the private sector and investment.”
Experts warn the food shortages could be a predictor of a general economic collapse; similar to the escalating crisis sweeping Venezuela.
Millions of starving Venezuelans continued their struggle to find food and basic necessities over the weekend, with multiple outlets reporting “mile-long” lines for gasoline in the once oil-rich nation.
“U.S. sanctions on oil-rich Venezuela appear to be taking hold, resulting in mile-long lines for fuel in the South American nation’s second-largest city, Maracaibo,” reports the Associated Press. “Some drivers said they’d had to wait almost 24 hours to fuel up, and people have been grabbing catnaps on the hoods of cars or in truck beds.”
“I’ve spent four days trying to get gasoline,” said one resident. “But I couldn’t.”
Locals complained to city officials after Police Officers reportedly accepted bribes of $3.60 -more than half of Venezuela’s monthly minimum wage- to cut the lines and purchase gasoline.
The gas shortage comes less than two weeks after opposition leader Juan Guaido launched a nationwide uprising with the hopes of removing socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido -recognized as Venezuela’s interim President by more than 50 countries- blamed the “failure” on senior military officials’ decision to support Maduro’s regime as tens of thousands protested across Caracas.
“There have been discussions… with civil and military officials who are ready to take the side of our constitution,” he added. “I’m very optimistic given that we are very close to achieving change in Venezuela.”
Read the full report at Reuters.