Official media reported this Friday that a court in Havana has sentenced 13 people to up to two years in prison for reselling fuel amid a severe crisis that has affected Cuba for the past two months.
According to a statement by the People’s Provincial Court of Havana cited by the official website cudebat, two will serve their sentence with corrective work, while 11 more will go to jail. The minor jail sentence is one year and four months.
In all, 15 people were tried—two of whom were acquitted—for the crime of betting. The sentence is not final, so it can still be appealed.
Those sanctioned – according to the court – sold the fuel on the island-wide black market at prices ranging from 350 to 600 pesos per liter ($14.5 to $25 per liter according to the official exchange rate). Means 20 times more than the price at service stations.
The island has been going through a fuel shortage since early April resulting in long lines at gas stations which often do not have fuel.
This situation has led many Cubans to resell the liters they receive at exorbitant prices as a quick way to obtain cash. The country is also going through a deep economic crisis which has worsened since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
According to the court, the sanctioned 11 were increased “within the sanctioning framework”, taking into account that the offenses were committed “in a complex scenario, exacerbated by fuel shortage.”
The Cuban government reported in late April that fuel shortages would continue until at least May due to “non-compliance by the supplying countries”.