Cuba’s struggling economy continued to falter in recent days; prompting government officials to regulate meat rations and other consumer goods as the communist nation’s food supplies dwindle.
“A 91-year-old former comrade of Cuba’s late dictator Fidel Castro recently startled Cubans when he announced government plans to breed ostriches to help feed the masses,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Comandante Guillermo García raved on Cuba’s main TV news show about the giant flightless bird, ‘which produces more [meat] than a cow.’ The comandante, who runs some of Cuba’s cattle-breeding operations, also extolled the meat of the hutia, a giant rodent endemic to the island, as better than beef.”
“Pushed by the implosion of top ally Venezuela and sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, Cuba has driven into an economic ditch. The government has tightened state rations. Residents stand in lines for hours to buy scarce basic goods such as eggs, flour and chicken,” added the newspaper.
Cuba’s communist revolution is under increased pressure from US sanctions and a less-than-expected harvest season; with millions complaining of food shortages and long lines at super markets across the socialist country.
“Long lines outside shops with mostly bare shelves are increasingly common in Cuba, and the government has indeed signaled that things are going from bad to worse,” reports Reuters.
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel blamed the Trump administration on the shortages; saying Washington was engaged in “asphyxiating financial persecution that makes the import of goods and resources of primary necessity particularly difficult.”
“While the crisis will not be as bad as in the 1990s, it will have a worrying social impact on the most vulnerable households, which are already on subsistence salaries,” said Pavel Vidal, a Cuban economist.
“This could be a critical moment that generates the consensus necessary to apply changes,” said Vidal. “The government needs to give more space to the private sector and investment.”
Experts warn the food shortages could be a predictor of a general economic collapse; similar to the escalating crisis sweeping Venezuela.
Read the full report at the Wall Street Journal.