Cuba burning tires to power factory as US oil sanctions bite

Cuba burning tires to power factory as US oil sanctions bite

HAVANA, Feb. 17th. (AFP) – The Cuban government has ordered a cement factory to burn old tires to power its operations and save on oil, amid a worsening fuel shortage brought on by US sanctions on the island.

On orders of President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the firm Cementos Cienfuegos, located in the centre of the country, will receive an increasing supply of used tires to burn, the official daily Granma said Monday.

Cuba has been suffering oil shortages since last September when the administration of President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on ships carrying petroleum to the island from its main fuel supplier Venezuela.

Washington introduced the sanctions to step up pressure on Havana to stop backing Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro, whose rival Juan Guaido has been recognized by the United States and other western states as the country’s acting president.

The US sanctions have forced Cuba to adopt a slew of emergency measures to make ends meet, such as slashing bus and train services and cutting the length of the working day in the public sector. It has also had to use oxen to pull farm machinery and horses to transport goods in wagons.

Officials said the cement business was currently burning between 130 and 150 tires every day and aims to increase that to 400 a day, with the goal of reducing its consumption of fuel oil by five per cent.

The cement plant is planning on importing 100,000 tons of crude this year.