Cuba buys oil-ship included-to avoid US sanctions

HAVANA, Feb. 26th Cuba, which faces fuel shortages, had to buy an oil shipment including the ship that was transporting it,as its owner refused to dock on the island for fear of U.S. sanctions, the government said.

“We had to get to the point of having to buy a ship, which is in the immediate vicinity of our coasts, to buy the ship, because the owner has refused to dock with fuel inside, our fuel,” said the Minister of Transportation, Eduardo Rodríguez, in statements to state television.

Not to mention the origin of the oil and the flag of the ship, Rodríguez explained that “the ship has not wanted to dock and we have had to buy the ship, with money that we had to take from the limited financial resources available to the country to access that fuel. ”

Rodríguez did not detail when that operation occurred.

Cuba produces only 32% of the fuel it consumes in order to generate energy. The remaining 68% must be imported, mainly from Venezuela, which has been complicated by the sanctions that Washington imposed since mid-2019 and that prevent it from securing a fluid supply of oil.

“We have had to make many decisions to guarantee the fuel supply,” said the minister, who explained that September 2019 was the most difficult period for the island in that regard.

Washington blames Havana for being a military supporter and repressive of the government of the socialist Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Cuba denies it but maintains its unconditional support for its main political ally.

Rodriguez added that the embargo imposed by the United States on the island since 1962 and reinforced by the government of Donald Trump, has a strong impact on daily life, especially for the transport and operation of the economy.

“Recently we had bought two planes for air transportation,” said the minister, but the seller broke the contract for fear of the application of a law that sanctions foreign firms that do business on the island with goods nationalized by the Fidel Castro revolution .

The law, known as Helms-Burton, was reactivated last year by Donald Trump.

Due to that same law, an “important international company” cancelled the modernization investments of Cuban airports, explained Minister Rodríguez. He did not provide the name of the companies, but it is known that European firms were interested in those businesses.