Cuba Pulls a Venezuela: Starts Rationing Basic Goods

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.

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

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.