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Cuban Power Outages May See End By Saturday

After days of radio silence, Cuban officials say that the massive blackouts throughout the country would end by Saturday, as another power crisis engulfed the ally of Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro after the Venezuelan crisis and plunging oil production and the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela threatened an oil barter deal between the two Communist-ruled regimes earlier this year.

The blackouts in recent days across Cuba were allegedly caused by mechanical problems at three power plants, while two other plants were offline for maintenance, Associated Press quoted Cuba’s Minister of Energy and Mining, Raúl García Barreiro, as telling state media on Tuesday night.

The minister pledged that the issues with the power outages would be resolved by this Saturday.

Dozens of Twitter users in Cuba have tweeted over the past few days the locations and durations of the power outages, while the Cuban government had stayed silent on the issue up to this point.

The crisis in Venezuela—Cuba’s ideological ally and an oil supplier via a barter deal—and the U.S. sanctions against Maduro’s regime have been making Cuba’s fuel and power supply more difficult since the start of the year.

In March, just over a month after the U.S. slapped sweeping sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry to squeeze Maduro’s regime out of oil revenues, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said that shipping companies and insurers that take part in sending crude oil from Venezuela to Cuba were “put on notice,” following a declaration by the Venezuelan opposition-dominated National Assembly that all oil exports to Cuba must be suspended in the wake of a five-day blackout that wreaked havoc on the already struggling South American country.

Yet, reports emerged later that Venezuela continued to ship oil to Cuba, despite U.S. pressure to stop doing so.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury hit with sanctions Cubametales, the Cuban company responsible for guaranteeing 100 percent of oil imports and exports to and from Cuba, in its continued effort to clamp down on Venezuela’s oil exports. 

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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