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Cuba Pulls a Venezuela: Starts Rationing Basic Goods

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The Cuban government is now rationing food and basic goods.

CBC reports that the country is undertaking a widespread rationing of chicken, eggs, rice, beans, soap, and other basics goods in light of the economic crisis.

Cuban Minister of Commerce Betsy Diaz Velazquez told the state-run Cuban News Agency that certain rationing schemes will be used to deal with shortages of staple foods.

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Diaz Velazquez blamed the stiffening of the U.S. trade embargo by the Trump administration for this newly developing crisis.

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Other economists pin the blame on lower levels of aid from Venezuela, where the implosion of its state-owned oil company has led to a two-thirds reduction in shipments of subsidized fuel that Cuba uses for power and to earn hard currency on the market.

Shortages have been a frequent occurrence in Cuba’s centrally-planned economy over the years. Long lines have emerged due to the shortage of basic products. The Cuban government blames these long lines on “hoarders.”

A tobacco-factory worker, Lazara Garcia, “The country’s going through a tough moment. This is the right response. Without this, there’ll be hoarders. I just got out of work and I was able to buy hot dogs.”

However, Manuel Ordoñez, a small business owner, had a different take on these rationing measures.

“What the country needs to do is produce. Sufficient merchandise is what will lead to shorter lines,” he said.

Cuba is the longest-lasting socialist experiment in the Western hemisphere. Along with present-day Venezuela, the country illustrates the failures of centrally-planned economies.

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