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Venezuela is Cuba’s largest oil supplier under a barter deal sealed by the late leaders of the two countries, Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. The deal envisaged Cuba getting regular shipments of crude in exchange for its highly trained doctors and other professionals to work in Venezuela.
The tightening of the U.S. sanctions against Maduro’s regime compounded Venezuela’s oil industry troubles, and Cuba became a collateral victim of reduced Venezuelan oil shipments.
Considering that Cuba depends on Venezuelan fuel oil to keep the lights on, insufficient oil supply from Caracas means hours of blackouts because most power plants are old, inefficient, and run on oil products.
Power outages have been among the main reasons for Cuban protests in recent days. People and businesses do not have electricity for hours every day. This adds to the crumbling economy due to the pandemic and missed revenues from tourist arrivals as people avoid traveling to Cuba.
North Korea is facing its worse food shortages in more than a decade, it said in a report to the United Nations, giving the world notice Pyongyang is bracing for one of its biggest domestic challenges since Kim Jong Un took power.
Food production dropped to its lowest level in 2018 due to “natural disasters and weak resilience, insufficient farming materials and low level of mechanization,” North Korea said in a Voluntary National Review for a United Nations examination of its Sustainable Development Goals. South Korea’s mission to the UN gave notice of the report on Tuesday and it’s apparently to the first time North Korea has made it public.