Cuba’s annual May Day parade, which was due to take place on Monday to mark international workers’ day, has been called off by the island’s communist government as it faces an acute fuel shortage.
The annual celebrations usually see hundreds of thousands of Cubans participate in festivities to mark the socialist workers’ holiday, which commemorates the country’s labor movement. It has only ever been canceled in 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic. Cuba uses between 500 and 600 tons of fuel a day yet its reserves are currently only sufficient for 400 tons per day to be distributed. The weakened economy has also led to reduced capacity for importing diluents needed to refine low-quality crude oil.
Cuba has had a barter agreement with Venezuela since 2000, in which it imports crude oil in exchange for educated doctors, teachers, and government workers. However, this relationship has become strained as Caracas struggles to manage its own fuel shortfalls and the amount of oil exported to Havana has dropped to 55 thousand barrels per day from almost 80 thousand last year.