Cuba acknowledges the prolonged duration of economic crisis and rejects swift solutions.

Cuba’s struggling economy is facing various challenges, including inflation, fuel shortages, plummeting agricultural production, and cash flow issues, which continue to fuel communist grievances. The island’s foreign currency reserves are insufficient to pay for much-needed fuel, food, and agricultural imports, leading to a pending resolution, says Economy Minister Alejandro Gil. Gill stressed that if Cuba cannot produce it, then they cannot get it, referring specifically to a lack of food. The minister urged lawmakers and local governments to focus on boosting agricultural production this year and next to address the deepening economic crisis, the country’s worst since Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959.

The economic crisis has resulted in shortages of food, fuel, and medicines, as well as a record number of Cuban immigrants heading to the US. Cuba is struggling to recover much-needed foreign exchange with visitor numbers in January to April 2022 half what they were in the same period in 2019. The foreign exchange shortage makes it difficult to import essential agricultural commodities, and pork production has plummeted from a record 199.7 tonnes in 2017 to just 16 tonnes in 2022 due to input depletion. Many fruits and vegetables are also suffering from these issues. Fuel supplies that could help boost agricultural production and bring goods to market are being redirected to power generation. In the first four months of 2023, Cuba used nearly twice as much diesel as planned to generate electricity, according to the economy minister.

Gill has resigned, citing that food prices, driven by inefficiencies and declining production, have far outstripped the purchasing power of most Cubans. Cuba blames much of its plight on Cold War-era US embargoes, but government officials are increasingly urging Cubans to find new ways to overcome the sanctions. The economic crisis is deepening, and it is hoped that fresh impetus for agricultural production can help alleviate some of the difficulties faced by the Cuban people.

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