Fuel price soars in Cuba as inflation worsens

Updated - January 11, 2024 09:13 am IST

Published - January 11, 2024 09:12 am IST - Havana

Already under the yoke of inflation and product scarcity, many Cubans don’t know how they will cope with a new 500% surge in the fuel price.

The communist island’s cash-strapped government announced the five-fold increase on Monday with effect from February 1, as part of a series of measures seeking to cut its budget deficit.

The cost of a liter of regular gasoline will rise from 25 pesos to 132 pesos, while the price of premium gasoline will jump from 30 to 156 pesos, it said.

To buy ten liters of fuel for his motorbike — enough for a week — he would now have to fork over half his monthly salary of about 21 dollars, said 57-year-old buildinng guard Domingo Wong.

State-owned companies and private carriers will be able to buy fuel “at wholesale prices,” which will increase by 50%, Transport Minister Eduardo Rodriguez said on Tuesday.

He added that most public transport fares will maintain “their current prices”, but announced major increases in domestic airline tickets and inter-province bus fares.

The nation of 11 million people is experiencing its worst economic crisis since the collapse of the Soviet bloc in the 1990s due to consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tightening of U.S. sanctions in recent years, and structural weaknesses in the economy.

According to official estimates, the Cuban economy shrank by two percent in 2023, while inflation reached 30% in 2023.

Independent experts say this is likely an under-estimation.

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