CUBA NEWS WEEK ENDING MAY 3, 2020
The new big news item in the Cuban press is the lack of drinking water across the island. The lack of water is being blamed on everything from mother nature to excessive use by the population, and this week a new twist was thrown in when it was reported that the U.S. embargo was also one of the reasons for the lack of drinking water. The latest and most farfetched excuse is that a part for a large pump that is only available in the U.S. cannot be imported because of the U.S. embargo. The embargo hasn’t allowed U.S. parts into the island for over half-a-century, so why would Cuba have an American pump? Why would they buy an American pump in the first place? The fact that the water system is not maintained properly by the government, has never been maintained properly and full of leaks because of this lack of maintenance is apparently not one of the reasons for the lack of water. On the alternating days that the municipal water is turned on throughout Havana’s neighborhoods, any casual observer can see leaks throughout the city, leaks that last for months and flood major streets and turn certain neighborhoods into mosquito breeding grounds. Heavy rain in certain parts of Havana on Thursday and light rain on Friday eased the growing water crisis, at least in Havana.
Cuban authorities released 6,500 inmates who were serving prison sentences in response to the coronavirus crisis, however, based on the number of arrests made for violations related to food distribution, that many new inmates should be in Cuban jails by October.
The lack of food continues to be a problem, and the government this week began closing the last private food vendors that had remained open since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in early March. All private food vendors have now been required to close.
Beer began to appear for sale at some state stores in Havana, with the requisite long lines that sometimes stretch for several blocks and hours.