What did farmers in socialist Cuba use to till the land before they had oxen? They used tractors.
Cuba is deploying oxen to replace tractors, using wood instead of gas at many state bakeries and advising citizens to save electricity by making the most of daylight as it grapples with an acute fuel shortage amid U.S. sanctions.
The government says it is prioritizing what little fuel it has this month to sustain critical services such as hospitals and sectors such as tourism, which generate much-needed hard currency. In other areas, it is seeking alternatives or scaling down.
Some cement factories have decreased production, the construction minister told a state broadcaster this week. A large steel factory in Havana has stopped operating altogether, a worker there told Reuters.
Supervisors at two large hotel construction sites in Havana said building brigades from outside the city had been ordered to stay home because of a lack of fuel for transport and for working all the machines at full capacity. The sites were operating with one shift instead of two or three. Other branches of the dominant state sector are also telling workers to stay at home until further notice because of drastic cuts in public transport.
“If they don’t need me right now, then I’d far rather not have to fight to catch a ride from a bus top overflowing with people, especially given this heat,” said Rosario, 32, who said her state news outlet had sent her home with her full salary.
She declined to give her full name for fear of retribution.
The usual suspects will do their best to blame U.S. sanctions for the economic crisis in Cuba. But they know as well as everyone else there is only one culprit behind the corruption, misery, poverty, shortages, and repression that has plagued Cuba for sixty years: The communist Castro dictatorship and its failed socialist policies.