Cuba is increasingly dependent on food production on the island, Cuban Minister of Economic Affairs Alejandro Gil told the new parliament. Due to the miserable economic situation, it is becoming increasingly difficult to import food, fuel and medicines. But domestic agricultural production is also faltering.
The minister talked for hours about the economic hopelessness to the newly elected Cuban parliament. The country is in one of the worst economic crises since the Cuban Revolution in 1959. And the end is nowhere in sight, according to Gil.
Gil thinks that many Cubans no longer have enough money for their basic needs. Cuban economists estimate that inflation was around 200 percent last year. According to the government, that was 31 percent, after 77 percent in 2021. Since Cuba imports 70 percent of the food it needs, inflation is dramatic.
Hospitals are now also running out of their supplies of oxygen and medicines. There are not enough foreign currencies to buy enough goods. “If we can’t produce them ourselves, we won’t have the drugs,” the minister concluded.
But agricultural production is also falling, for example because the purchase of animal feed and fertilizer is becoming too expensive. For example, Cuban pork production has fallen from nearly 200 tons in 2017 to 16 tons in 2022, Gil said. According to the minister, a similar development applies to many fruit and vegetables.
Tourism is not coming back
The local economy ran on tourism before the corona pandemic. But unlike surrounding countries, tourists are now staying away from Cuba. In the first quarter of this year, the island received only half of the number of tourists that came in 2019.
The communist regime of President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez leaves Cubans little room to change their situation. That is why hundreds of thousands of residents are already choosing eggs for their money and leaving the island. Most leave for the United States.