Cuban food rationing system collapses amid worst economic crisis since the end of the Cold War

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Cuba’s government has for the first time asked the UN’s food programme for help as food shortages on the Communist-run island worsen.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said it had received an unprecedented official request from the Cuban government for help providing powdered milk to children under seven years of age.

The request is a sign of the seriousness of Cuba’s economic crisis.

As well as a shortage of milk, fuel and medicines are also running low.

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The WFP confirmed to Spanish news agency Efe that it been approached by the Cuban government to “continue the monthly delivery of 1kg [35oz] of milk for girls and boys under the age of seven throughout the country”.

The WFP said it had already started delivering milk powder to the island.

Powdered milk and other basic foods are provided to Cubans at a subsidised price through ration books, but delays and lack of supplies are common, especially at times of economic hardship.

Protesters in Cuba demand food and electricity as shortages bring hardship

MEXICO CITY — Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Cuba in recent days, furious over the lack of food and electricity. With chants of “hunger” and “we want food,” the demonstrations have centered in Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second-biggest city, and surrounding towns in the southeastern area of the island.

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They are the biggest anti-government protests since 2021, when thousands of Cubans took to the streets, triggering a massive crackdown by the state. Since then, the economic situation has deteriorated further, and analysts say the crisis is the worst in at least three decades.

Claribel, 58, a resident of Santiago, says hardly a day goes by when there aren’t at least five hours of power outages. Food is in such short supply that her 2-year-old great-nephew is being fed juice instead of milk. Public transportation has dried up because of a lack of fuel.

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