Cuba to Ration More Products as Harder Times Approach

In announcing the new rationing measures the government’s official Granma newspaper ran this picture trying to project calm and an abundance of available meat products. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba will start rationing more food and hygiene articles in view of the country’s worsening supply crisis, Domestic Trade Minister Betsy Diaz said Friday, reported dpa news.

As shortages increase, chicken, rice, eggs, beans, sausage, soap, detergent and toothpaste are among the items to be rationed in a bid for “fair and reasonable” distribution of scarce products, she the official.

The decision means less of these products will be available on the free market and thus less availability for small private food service vendors and cafes and “paladar” restaurants. The minister did not mention if availability for tourists resorts would be affected.

The Diaz Canel government says shortages are due to the stepped-up US trade embargo, while many economists blame them on the poor quality and quantity of goods manufactured in Cuba and the country’s economy being overly reliant on its key ally Venezuela, on the brink of disaster itself.

In a barter arrangement, the Cuban government trades the work of poorly paid Cuban doctors and educators, sent on “missions” to Venezuela for cheap oil, which is used to keep the country running and partially resold to other countries by Cuba to obtain foreign currency.

However, oil deliveries from Venezuela had already been halved to 50,000 barrels a day due to that country’s own economic woes. Now, the foreign shipping companies that transport that oil are subject to US sanctions that will make them divest any interests with US companies or their tentacles, or face a possible confiscation of assets.

Likewise, should the Maduro government fall in Venezuela, virtually all opposition forces have often announced they would cut all oil shipments to Havana and send home the tens of thousands of Cubans working in the South American country on government to government contracts.

Both the US and the opposition forces in the Venezuelan National Assembly accuse Cuba of providing key military and security assistance to the Maduro government.

10 thoughts on “Cuba to Ration More Products as Harder Times Approach

  • May 20, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    I think the USA should end the embargo now. Trump loves communists, look at the relationship Trump has with Putin. If tourists from the USA are allowed to visit Cuba, that will mean more money in the Cuban economy

  • May 15, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Just a question Peter, how did you identify the “Cubans” ?

  • May 13, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    I spend my winter in Varadero I have never seen more food left on the plate than left by Cubans not tourists why they do this I do not know.Peter

  • May 13, 2019 at 10:33 am

    On the last two recent trips to Cuba l noticed a marked decline in the quality and quantity of food served at the buffet in our hotel in Varadero. Hard times appear to also begin affecting the two luxury hotels we stayed in. I have always believed that Mexico and Jamaica are better vacation values but because I have family in Cuba, the trip to Cuba was justifiable. Should conditions continue to worsen, trips to Cuba will only include family visits and we will have to consider other options for the rest of our vacation time.

  • May 12, 2019 at 7:42 am

    You are so right many people have tried to work with the Cuban government and things very seldom work out. Three years ago I was ripped off twice by the Cuban police or 50 C.U.P and 30C.U.P. A bike was taken down for me to use while working on a small food processor plant (coop) and the police took the bike for (safe keeping) It took 2 days to get the bike back. I complained several times to the Cuban government and their office in Canada and was told I was not welcome back in Cuba because I went to the press false statements of corruption in Cuba.

  • May 11, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Congri the staple diet in Cuba is a combination of rice and beans. As a consequence of the incompetence of the Castro regime’s agricultural policies reducing domestic production, most of the rice provided for the libreta (ration Card) is low grade product from Vietnam which requires picking over to remove the impurities. But even those supplies are to be reduced. The US embargo does not limit that importation! There is no valid alternative staple, as potatoes are a scarce luxury seldom to be found.
    If possessing a conscience, the regime would reduce supplies for visitors (tourists) to enable feeding their own people. In April this year, for interest, I and my wife – a Cuban – visited an hotel in Varadero for a couple of days, which provided the usual four “B’s” of the package tour industry – Beach, Bed, Booze and Buffet. The amount of good food left on many of the plates at the buffet would have fed a Cuban for a day. As the hotels are owned by GAESA and only managed by the foreign hotel chains, it is obscene for the regime to deliberately reduce food supplies for Cubans.
    One of the factors in food supply in Cuba, is the regimes system of tight price controls, which make producing food by the crofters (“farmers” would be an exaggeration as they only have 3 to 5 acres) marginal at best. Russia had a similar policy, but following the implosion of the USSR, when life for Russians – like that now for Cubans, got very tough, the new Russian government by 1992 removed price controls and food production rose substantially. That reflected capitalism commencing – which is forbidden in the new Raul Castro constitution.
    Life for Cubans is going to be even tougher than previously, leaving little hope and there is no end in sight!

  • May 11, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Tourist will not continue to come unless they can bring in 50 kg duty free so that can bring own food medicine and anything else that they might need for a a 3 or 4 week vacation. Many of my older friends are telling me that last winter Cuba was too expensive compared to Texas or Mexico. In 2001 a group from Canada and Holland invested almost $50 million on 2 large farms that Russia had set up in the late 1968 on over 10,000 hectares. With a small wind and water power plants and wind powered large water pumps and 1500 bred dairy heifers from Canada in 2005 . 10 years later the investors walked away with nothing and the farms shut down.

  • May 11, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    As Yogy Berra the famed NY Yankee player used to say ” it is not over until the fat lady sings.” Stay tuned !

  • May 11, 2019 at 11:19 am

    The US by tighnening and use of sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela in Latin America front while at same time applying similar embargo against North Korea Iran and renegotition with Russia and China ilustrate electioneering for second term and only way to build support among Cuban Americans and Latin Americans in USA as well as lsrael support as means of securing Jewish votes in next year elections and Cuba and China and Russia objectives may be dismantling ties between Venezuela, Cuba, China, North Korea And Russian links with pac and to outmanuvre for reducing the nuclear arms build up and concerns in Israel and Japan

  • May 11, 2019 at 9:24 am

    After 60 years nothing works on that island High price to pay to keep a family in power.

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