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Dependence on Imported Oil Continues to Set the Pace of Cuba’s Economy and Politics

LADB Article ID: 80132
Category/Department: Cuba
Date: 2016-11-03
By: Daniel Vázquez

Cuba’s economy, politics, and daily life continue to be influenced by dependence on oil imports needed to satisfy half of the island’s daily fuel consumption, even though the country has increased its search for more deposits since the 1990s, formed other strategic alliances, and attempted to diversify its energy sources.A century ago, Cuban society was dependent on the world market’s sugar prices, sugar being the island’s flagship product. Ever since the former Soviet Union’s fuel guarantees ended in the late 1980s, however, the country has been alert to the price of crude. Before then, fuel was shipped to the island in such abundance that former President Fidel Castro and his government were able to resell it to other nations. Today, there is not a television news program or newspaper in the island that does not include the international price of oil, thus converting it into a key indicator of Cuba’s energy generation, and of the country’s liquidity and ability to import necessities, especially food. According to Cuba’s official newspaper, Granma, the country extracts around 45,000 barrels of petroleum and 3 million cubic meters of natural gas a day, which can satisfy about half of the country’s energy demands. The rest of the petroleum must be imported and has come mainly from Venezuela.

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