Fuel Crisis in Cuba: Boteros protest new regulations

Fuel Crisis in Cuba: Boteros protest new regulations

Published on 26 Jun 2023

In the midst of the transportation crisis that Cuba has been suffering since the regime rationed the sale of gasoline and diesel in the island’s service stations, the authorities in Havana once again raised the fares of private carriers, popularly known as boteros. Since June 9, the Provincial Transportation Directorate decreed fixed fares for the […]

In the midst of the transportation crisis that Cuba has been suffering since the regime rationed the sale of gasoline and diesel in the island’s service stations, the authorities in Havana once again raised the fares of private carriers, popularly known as boteros. Since June 9, the Provincial Transportation Directorate decreed fixed fares for the 46 passenger transportation routes operated by private carriers in the country’s capital.


The current regulations that the boteros must comply with or else face heavy fines “was agreed with the majority of the licensees who hold transport operation licenses” with the intention of balancing prices between them and their regular customers, “in such a way that it would be feasible for both parties”, according to statements by the Provincial Transportation Directorate of Havana.


The protests of the boteros, who allege the general rise in the cost of living in the country and demand changes in the conditions imposed on them by the government of the capital, due to the increase in the prices of their services during the current fuel crisis, threaten to deepen the transportation crisis in the island’s capital, for which reason the authorities set up, as of Monday, June 12, a single service center for the sale of diesel exclusively to the boteros, but in a rationed manner.


However, a representative of this guild delivered a letter to the Department of Attention to the Population of the Ministry of Transport in Havana. The document, published in the Facebook group Boteros D’ Cuba, states, among other proposals: more fuel, the sale of supplies to maintain the vehicles, that the authorities consult with the boteros to make decisions, and that the state of the road infrastructure be improved.


“You know how much a tire is costing right now, 30,000 pesos. A battery, the one that is worth the least, for example, the one we use in the oil cars, can cost you between 45,000 and 50,000 pesos in the black bag, on the street. A liter of oil costs 1,000 pesos. These engines are old engines, tired engines, that every two days you have to put at least a liter of oil in them. The protest continues. Only one point supplies us and in Havana there are many private haulers. It is a big problem, you have to stand in line at dawn and, if it is during the day, you have to spend part of the day and part of the morning, then start driving the next day. Nobody is going to do it; one single point is not going to solve anything”, said one of the private carriers.


During the week in which this measure against private carriers was implemented, among the trends positioned on Twitter on the island the following trends stood out: #Camaguey, #FidelCastro, #EnCubaHayUnaDictadura (In Cuba there is a dictatorship) and #CubaEstadoTerrorista (Cuba terrorist State).


The already critical transportation situation has worsened for months with the fuel crisis while the Cubans’ weariness is evident. Havana faces one of the most serious transportation crisis in the last ten years, when already in 2020 it had an availability of less than 500 vehicles to transport half a million people daily.


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