(p. A7) Cuba will ration sales of basic goods, officials said, as tighter U.S. sanctions and the economic implosion of key ally Venezuela puts further pressure on the Communist regime to import food staples.
Commerce Minister Betsy Díaz on Friday [May 10, 2019] said the government would ration items including eggs, cooking oil, chicken, sausage and soap amid widespread shortages that have caused anxiety and panic buying.
Cuban officials blame the shortages on the Trump administration’s hardening of the trade embargo, but economists say the island’s economy has also been hit hard by reduced shipments of subsidized oil from Venezuela. The island’s agriculture sector has long been inefficient, some analysts said.
The rationing plans come as the country’s Cuba’s authoritarian regime cracks down on civil-society groups. Over the weekend, security officers blocked an unauthorized parade in Havana by gay-rights activists. Several activists were detained, Cubans said on social media.
Cuban officials acknowledged that the government had failed to meet production targets for food staples including eggs and pork, and said limits will be put on the amount of chicken and other products individuals could purchase. They urged Cubans to avoid panic buying.
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(Note: bracketed date added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date May 12, 2019, and has the title “Cuba Plans to Ration Sales of Basic Food Items.”)