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We are not entering a new Special Period

uso racional energiaALTHOUGH the energy situation the country is facing, along with other limitations, could suggest the emergence of a new Special Period in Peacetime, as enemies of the Revolution would like us to believe, Cuba is far from returning to such a state of affairs.

This view has been emphasized and substantiated by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

We have an economic and social development strategy, approved in the last two congresses of the Communist Party of Cuba. In addition, there is the Conceptualization of our Socio-Economic Model and the foundations for the preparation of the National Plan through 2030, directed toward long term development, commented the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers.

Also, in a democratic, broad-based effort this year, he recalled, the country approved a new Constitution, and in October new government authorities will be elected, in accordance with the new Magna Carta.

These have been processes that have had majority support from the population and provide a programmatic basis for the present and the future. Cuba is not helpless, nor isolated, he insisted.


We cannot speak of a new Special Period as long as the central core of the country’s energy system remains stable, the Cuban President stated.

In fact, “National industry guarantees 40% of the country’s fuel, production that allows for the operation of our thermoelectric plants,” he explained.

The challenge is to ensure fuel for other processes that, among other things, are involved in the performance of thermoelectric plants, he said.

Tourism also remains strong. This sector continues to accommodate visitors in the country’s more than 70,000 hotel rooms and financial tensions have not prevented hard currency from entering the country every day.

“Even though the United States denies its own citizens’ right to travel to Cuba,” Díaz-Canel stated, “the island remains a preferred destination among travelers of all nationalities.”

This sector has maintained consistent levels in recent years, despite a slight decrease caused by the U.S. administration’s ban on cruise ship stops here.

On the other hand, the Cuban President noted, Cuba’s main investors and allies such as the European Union – which has proposed defending its investors in the country from sanctions imposed by the U.S. blockade – have not withdrawn. This was made evident recently when a Spanish court dismissed a lawsuit against Meliá Hotels International.

During Cuba’s last Tourism Fair, he recalled, “We met with businesspeople from different parts of the world, including the U.S. – showing that Cuba keeps the dialogue going constantly.”

Both the medical services and pharmaceuticals sectors continue to generate income in a stable fashion.

“The pharmaceutical industry has maintained growth since its creation, in the 90s, during the Special Period. Today will be no different. Despite the energy situation we are facing, it remains productive and with export capacity. In addition, foreign investment in products such as nickel, tobacco, and other lines has been energized,” said Díaz-Canel.

According to the President, today the country has as a strength a more diversified economy and superior construction capability, maintaining economic relations with Venezuela, Russia, China, the European Union, several African countries, and many others.

He recalled that in these last few weeks, Canada’s foreign minister, as well as representatives from the European Union and the Vatican, visited Havana. Cuba is not isolated, he stressed; it is a country viewed with admiration and respect around the world.

We now have diversified markets, Díaz-Canel recalled. Before we were practically dependent on the sugar market. We also have the previous experience of confronting the most difficult moments of the Special Period, and “Our victory showed that it could be done, that, yes, it is possible, and yes, it will be possible.”


Another view our adversaries try to promote is that the situation is the result of poor management and incompetency on the part of the Cuban government.

We have a lot to resolve, Díaz-Canel acknowledged, but this particular situation has nothing to do with us. It is a result of arbitrary measures adopted by the United States, directed against our population, exposing the idea that they want to help the Cuban people. If the people are suffering, it is because of the United States government.

The Cuban government, he said, is working to improve the people’s situation; this is made clear by the measures that have been implemented, despite our limitations.

He mentioned salary increases; revitalization of the economy; improvements in rail transport; measures to controls prices and avoid inflation; ensuring the availability of all essential resources for the opening of a new school year; overcoming food shortages in the first months of the year; and steps taken to limit the impact on the generation of electricity.

All measures implemented to address these problems have had a positive impact, he said.

Despite the efforts, however, the President reported, the arrival of oil tankers on schedule was not achieved during these days. Given this situation, two important moments must be faced.

First, he continued, is the one we are experiencing now, that will last through September 14, because no fuel will enter until that date. We must make adjustments and save, to mitigate this setback; but on the 14th, he stressed, fuel will arrive. The next shipments arrive at the end of September.

Thus, he said, we must maintain savings and efficiency measures so that this fuel lasts until the end of the month, at which point vessels are scheduled to arrive, and allow us to stabilize the situation.

“The next shipments arrive at the end of September which means we have to cut back now. The good news is that all the contracts that we need to guarantee the month of October are negotiated, so we continue working to improve the situation, today (September 11) through the weekend.”

Then, he said, we will face a stage with more room to maneuver, but we must continue adopting measures, even though the situation is short-term. “We must use this time to outline strategies, aware that this situation may be repeated. This is training for any situation, no matter how complex it may be.”

The President reiterated that there is no reason for alarm at the moment; there are no other products in short supply.

Possible effects, he said, may be felt in the distribution of some products, since this involves the availability of diesel fuel for transportation. We only have problems in some sectors and must adopt measures.

Regarding the generation of electricity, he said that if we can “flatten” the demand during peak hours, power outages can be avoided, but we must conserve to the maximum.

He likewise referred to an energy plan that will be explained in detail and that, in all likelihood, electrical challenges would not appear until the 15th, although outages may occur.

If necessary, he emphasized, an information plan on power cuts will be implemented, but this will in no way compare to what the country experienced during the Special Period.

The President expressed confidence that government actions are reducing the negative impact of the current situation, which may be repeated given the aggressiveness of the United States.


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