http://havanajournal.com/culture/entry/food_water_and_electricity_in_short_supply_in_cuba/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Culture

Food, water and electricity in short supply in Cuba

Posted March 16, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Culture.
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Cubanet.org

Enrique Carrillo, Cubanacán Press
Jorge Ramon Castillo, ICDPRESS
Ibrahim Dionisio Rodríguez, Cubanacán Press

1. Areas of Placetas without power for 13 days

La Vigía district of Placetas has been without power for 13 days since the electric transformer burned out.

Residents say they have asked that repairs be made, but the Electric
Company alleges they have no transportation to move the needed equipment.

La Vigía residents say they collected four pesos per family to have the
equipment repaired.

“This is a shame; this sort of thing didn’t happen before”, said an elderly woman who has had to put up with the prolonged blackout.

The problem of lack of transportation and means to repair transformers
and other equipment is a recurrent one for the Electric Company.

2. Food scarcity becoming critical in Granma province

The 25,000 residents of Campechuela, in easternmost Granma province, are facing food shortages approaching the critical point as a result of the prolonged drought affecting the region.

The one local market, operated by the government, gets one shipment per
week of produce, and every Saturday, market day, long lines form before
dawn of consumers who hope to buy their allotment of two kilograms of
each product available.

Sometimes, fights break out. Last week, one woman punched out another
who tried to buy plantains before her without having waited her turn in
line. Often, more than half of those waiting come out empty-handed.

Residents despair of a ready solution to the problem. They say government authorities have sounded the alarm, but give no clue to the possible solutions.

3. Residents protest water leaks in Caibarien

A number of Caibarien residents have been complaining to government authorities about the continuous water leaks in their neighborhood, to no avail, they say.

María Caridad Noa said residents have complained directly to the municipal waterworks. Water department workers have been digging in the streets, she said, but have not solved the problems, she said.

The leaks cause dangerous conditions in the streets, she said. Several
passersby have slipped as a result of the puddles.

The problem is not unique to one area. In several places around town,
the same problems occur, in spite of the continuing drought affecting the region.

Member Comments

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On March 16, 2005, publisher wrote:

I have criticized cubanet.org for their relentless reporting of all the bad news in Cuba but have not questioned the honesty of their reports.

I wanted to summarize these news stories and ask for comments about the current state of food, water and electricity in Cuba.

Is all of Cuba struggling or just parts of Cuba? How bad is it and will it effect the Castro regime? How long can the Cuban people deal without a reliable supply of water, food and electricity?

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On March 16, 2005, waldo wrote:

Life in Cuba is and has been, like the street people say: “not easy”. Water leaks, apagones, shortages, and food rationing is nothing new, and complains are also historical, but somehow life in Cuba continues without panic crisis or poverty so noticeable in almost all other latin american countries(just travel outside of Mexico City or La Paz or Asuncion or Lima or Tegusigalpa and you would see). With the hardening of Washington’ bloqueo and the prolonged sequia, things are probably worse in many parts of the island, especialy in semi-remote areas like Campechuela. However, in my feithfull crystal bowl (95% accurate) I can see the propaganda hands of CANF and CIA casting strings and shadows on cubanet reporting, all as part of the latest White House relentless push to try to destroy the dangerous example of the Cuban system.

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On March 16, 2005, YoungCuban wrote:

Hell all those conditions can been seen right here in exiled Cuban run Miami,just go down to parts of Coconut Grove,Liberty City,Florida City and many other areas through out Dade county.

Welcome To Miami!

And thats not inclduing parts in the midwest (and most of the US) where entire familys live under the stars starving to death with not even a roof over their heads.

If you are going to post the bad in Cuba be a bit more fair and post the bad here in the US.

Last numbers I saw on homelessness in the US was near 20 million,thats nearly 10% of the people living in the US!

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On March 16, 2005, Cubana wrote:

There are two types of people in Cuba (three if you count the ruling elite) - those with access to dollars (or convertible pesos now) and those without. Those with dollars can go to the “shopping” and buy those things that we in the West take for granted i.e. personal hygiene products, food not on the ration, clothes, etc. Those without go without.

Last summer especially there were big problems with the electricity supply because of the failure of a major power plant. Even Fidel had to go on TV to explain the situation. It seems to have got better recently and when I was in Cuba in January/February (not staying in a hotel I might add) I experienced no blackouts.

The water situation is more critical, especially in the east of the country. This is mainly caused by the prolonged drought although not helped by underinvestment in the distribution system which loses a vast amount from leaks.

The Cuban people are famously innovative and are usually able to find a way round the shortages of water, food and electricity. But as they say on the island life “no es facil”.

As regards cubanet.org its reports show life as it is on the island, reports you will certainly not see in the government’ propaganda rag Granma or on all the government owned websites that have sprung up recently. Similar conditions and reports can be found in other countries of course (including the US) but the point is they are not reported in Cuba as they would be in the US. That is the value of cubanet.org.

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On March 17, 2005, reiki wrote:

I was in Cuba Jan-Feb and the water shortage was apparent in Camaguey. There were also electricity cut-outs in Trinidad and Havana.  This seemed to be very much ‘normal’ state of the affairs.  I was not staying at hotels and was travelling with a Cuban, so I believe I got fairly realistic picture.

I think the Cubanet.org news are great, these are up to date news about Cuba, which are not readily available in the country or much elsewhere.  I fail to see what has US poverty etc. got to do with all this, if I want to know about US I’m not looking from Cubanet.  The bad news seem to make the best news everywhere in the world, but thos is the exact kind of information Cuban authorities will not release.