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A long line for gas at a gas station in Havana, Cuba People line up with their vehicles to load up on fuel at a gas station in Havana, Cuba, Sept. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Ismael Francisco).

An Energy Crisis Is Putting Cuba’s Post-Castro Leadership to Its First Test

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019

Venezuela’s economic collapse and Washington’s new sanctions on companies shipping Venezuelan oil to Cuba have plunged the island nation into its most severe energy crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. In response, Havana is looking to its old ally Russia to plug the hole in energy supplies left by the decline in Venezuelan shipments. But the crisis is hampering plans to implement economic reforms that Havana hopes will respond to popular demands for economic liberalization while retaining the Communist Party’s political dominance.

Visiting Cuba last week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev promised that Russia would help Cuba through the current crisis. But the long-term challenge for Havana is how to develop energy security, locking in stable sources of supply that don’t depend on shifting political winds. ...

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