Street Lights Go Off in Cuba

Caribbean nation grapples with unprecedented crisis

Bread is in short supply, fuel prices have gone up 500%, even street lights are now going out. The Cuban crisis seems to have no solution, as gross domestic product has fallen 10% since 2019. Power outages, a sad habit in recent years, have become more frequent in recent weeks, and the administration has decided to limit them by turning off 75% of street lighting.

This was announced, as reported by Cuban media, by the Minister of Mines and Energy, Vicente de la O Levy, explaining that the measure is part of the crisis scenario the country is facing, which has led the government to seek help from the WFP, the UN Food Program; other public services will also be affected by the restrictions. Cuba imports most of the goods it consumes and is hampered by a shortage of foreign currency. The minister himself explained that he had received about half of the expected February fuel deliveries.

The crisis situation, according to the government, is mainly caused by US sanctions, which were tightened by Donald Trump and also affect tourism, one of the country’s main economic activities, as well as medical services and remittances from those earning foreign currency. Then there’s the Covid crisis and the international crisis with rising transportation costs, which represent a particularly important factor for an economy that must import just about everything.