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The War in Ukraine, Another Blow to Cuba's Food Supply and Household Economies

The regime says it seeks 'socialist and just solutions' to deal with the rising prices of food and the essential products it imports.

Meeting of the Ministry of Finance and Prices in Havana.
Meeting of the Ministry of Finance and Prices in Havana. ACN

The Cuban government admitted on Thursday that Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the war that has ensued will have an even greater impact on the island's food and household economies, explaining that it is seeking "socialist solutions" to deal with the inflation on international markets.

Minister of Economy and Planning Alejandro Gil Fernández acknowledged the negative impact that the rise in prices will have on a series of foods and essential products that the Government imports, reported the Cuban News Agency (ACN).

Summing up a working meeting of the Ministry of Finance and Prices (MFP), Gil Fernandez said that the cost of a barrel of petrol, a ton of oil, and of wheat and soy flour, among other items, including ship charter, has risen significantly.

Some of these products and services had already seen a rise in prices during the pandemic and hit the failed Cuban economy hard, as it must turn abroad to buy between 60% and 70% of the food consumed on the island.

According to Gil Fernández, "we must resolutely face the international inflationary trend, which seems to have no end in sight, and could very get even worse."

"Focusing on socialist, administrative and just solutions," he added.

In the words of the minister, cited by the official newspaper Granma, the priorities are "attention to people in vulnerable situations, from the logic of subsidizing people and not products; the rigorous implementation of measures to strengthen accounting; as well as the ability to identify the competencies and powers of municipalities with the use of public resources."

The deputy prime minister also stated that one of the Government's main challenges is "to devise a mechanism, a way of working, that allows us to establish in the country a transparent and rational system of prices, without this entailing a policy of centralization by the State."

He called for "further progress in price decentralization, but without embracing the concepts of a market economy."

"We cannot forget that we are a socialist country, and that solutions must be centered on favoring society," he said.

International sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and the war that has ensued are torpedoing the island's economic recovery plans, and will very likely impact the state and private sectors, in addition to the informal market, which many families rely on for their subsistence.

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