The Liberian-flagged petrochemical vessel Ocean Mariner arrived in Cuba this week with an alleged shipment of fuel from Mexico, which tacitly confirms that the island’s regime’s dependence on its North American neighbor is increasing.
According to ship tracking sites, the ship arrived in Havana on Friday, August 25th, from the Mexican port terminal of Pajaritos, from where it departed on August 22. From there, it will continue its voyage to Santiago de Cuba.
As Reuters reported days ago, Mexico overtook Russia as the island’s second-largest fuel supplier, just behind Venezuela. State-owned Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) shipped about 13 million barrels of light Olmeca crude in the last four months alone, a grade better suited to aging Cuban refineries than Venezuelan heavy oil.
Deliveries from Venezuela fell to 55 million barrels per day (bpd) last July from nearly 80 million in 2020, while Russia supplied Cuba with around 12,000,000 bpd of crude between February and July.
Havana has started using its own oil tankers, which belong to the business conglomerate of the military GAESA, to increase crude oil imports from the neighboring country.
Beginning in July, the Vilma made two voyages from Mexico’s Pajaritos terminal to Cuban refineries in Cienfuegos and Havana, while in June, the Delsa also shipped Mexican crude from Pajaritos to Cienfuegos and then sailed to Venezuela, where she loaded oil data. Both ships are among the few Cuban oil tankers not sanctioned by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Other ships on the island have been repaired or inspected at a Veracruz shipyard in recent years, including the Esperanza, which is blacklisted by the United States and is currently docked in this Mexican port.
A US State Department spokesman told Reuters in April that Washington was “aware that Cuba is buying oil from a number of countries, both sanctioned and non-sanctioned.”
As this happens, fuel shortages continue to be felt at the island’s petrol stations, which have not lifted sales rationing imposed since April last year.
Aside from that, The lack of heating oil is felt in the generation of electrical energyAs of last week, authorities have identified a shortage of fuel to run their generator sets and at least one of the five boats rented to Turkey, which operate in Cuba and serve as support for the country’s energy production.
Exports from Mexico to Cuba are already reflected in the trade balance, which set an annual record in June after closing at $36,294,000, up from 32,489,000 last May, according to the Bank of Mexico.
Since Mexican oil exports to the island are not included in this figure and there are no official statements on this either, Analysts and experts believe these shipments could serve as payment for the growing number of Cuban professionals being exported to the neighboring country.given the agreements between the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his ally Miguel Dáz-Canel.
More than 700 Cuban doctors are already working in Mexico, and last week, 100 medical professors also arrived to practice at state universities. Havana doesn’t stop looking for benefactors that will allow him to access resources to keep the group in power, even if it means losing allies.