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Buenos Aires Hours | More than half of the population is now vaccinated with a single dose

More than half of Argentina’s population has now been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to official data – although the achievement has been eclipsed this week by concerns over the lack of supply of Sputnik V injections.

The benchmark comes following a decrease in the number of deaths and confirmed infections over the past few days.

On Friday, the health ministry confirmed that 15,622 cases and 286 deaths had been recorded in the previous 24 hours, bringing Argentina’s cumulative totals to 4,737,213 and 101,158 respectively. The bed occupancy rate in intensive care units also declined, reaching 58.5% nationally and 56.3% in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA).

According to the government’s Public Vaccination Monitor, at the time of printing on Friday, a total of 29,362,896 doses have now been administered to citizens and foreign residents in the country. A total of 23,437,015 received one dose, of which 5,925,881 completed the immunization schedule.

According to Bloomberg New’s global immunization tracker, 51.6% of Argentina’s population received a dose, with just 13.1% of both.

In a social media post on Thursday, President Alberto Fernández welcomed the news. “More than 50% of Argentines are vaccinated with at least one dose and we already have 40 million doses of vaccine in the country. In each of these photos we see the joy of being closer to the life we ​​want. We continue to vaccinate, ”declared the Peronist leader.

Argentina has, to date, received more than 39 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine (12.9 million Sinopharm; 11.8 million Sputnik; 9.1 million AstraZeneca, but produced in Argentina; 3.5 million Moderna , donated by the United States; 1.9 million AstraZeneca via the COVAX device of the World Health Organization and 580,000 AstraZeneca-Covishield).

Sputnik fears

It emerged on Thursday that the government had complained to Russia about delays in deliveries of the second dose of its Sputnik V vaccine, sending an email warning of the repercussions of breaching the contract.

The letter, dated July 7, was sent to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financially supported Sputnik V. In it, presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini warned Russian authorities that the shortages “are leaving us very few options to continue fighting for you. and this project!

The letter said Argentina understood that there had been “production difficulties”, but added that “now, seven months later, we are still far behind, as we start to receive regular doses from others. suppliers, with respected schedules. “

“We are facing legal action because of these delays as public officials, endangering our government,” Nicolini told Anatoly Braverman, first deputy managing director of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, referring to a conversation between Argentine and Russian officials. “We are again in a very critical situation.

Highlighting the extent of the fears, administration official Alberto Fernández said the lack of supplies had left the country in a “very critical situation”, saying it put the government at risk in the upcoming mid-election. mandate.

Argentina signed an agreement with Russia for 30 million doses of Sputnik V, of which it received less than 12 million, according to Nicolini. He received 9.37 million doses on the first shot, but only 2.49 million on the second, meaning that around 6.6 million citizens or foreign residents are waiting for a second shot.

Inoculation with Sputnik V, produced by the Russian institute Gamaleya, requires two doses which differ from each other and cannot be interchanged or mixed with other vaccines. According to information released Thursday, only 493,000 doses of the first component Sputnik and 257,922 of the second dose remain in Argentina.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the “delays” in supplying Sputnik to Argentina were due to the need to step up national vaccination as cases increased. “We have always said that the main priority is to ensure that Russians can get vaccinated,” he said on a conference call with reporters.

He said RDIF would solve any problem with sourcing foreign customers – an implicit reference to Argentina’s situation.

Breakthrough?

Nicolini played down reports of a dispute on Thursday, saying communication with Moscow was “constant” and “very good”. The letter is not “a threat,” she added.

Either way, however, it may have paid off – on Friday, the RDIF released a statement saying it had held a meeting with health ministry officials to address concerns.

“After a virtual meeting between [Argentina’s] The Ministry of Health of the Nation and the team of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) which took place today, we reaffirm our joint work to guarantee and accelerate the supply of the Sputnik V vaccine to Argentina ” , said the fund. “We are confident that we will solve all problems in a positive way and that we will continue with the commitment we made.”

“In addition, thanks to our commitment, we have been able to increase local production and we already have nearly two million doses of the two components approved or under approval for their rapid distribution,” said RDIF.

The Argentine government was one of the first and most enthusiastic users of Russian Sputnik and began vaccinating its citizens against Covid-19 with the Sputnik V vaccine outside of trials in late December. President Fernández was among the first to receive him during a public demonstration of confidence.

Faced with an initial shortage of vaccines, the government intentionally prioritized the administration of a first dose to citizens. But Russia’s struggle to produce the second dose has left a gap in the number of Argentines able to complete the inoculation within the recommended three-month time frame. Despite orders for hundreds of millions of doses of Sputnik, a slow start in production means only a fraction has been delivered, leaving some countries facing delays in their vaccination programs.

Russia registered Sputnik V last August ahead of large-scale clinical trials, sparking concern among experts about the expedited process. It has since been found to be over 90% safe and effective in a report published by leading medical journal The Lancet, restoring confidence.

RDIF has signed production agreements with several countries, including India, which is expected to produce several hundred million doses per year. The investment fund says its two-dose vaccine has been approved in 68 countries and has applied for registration in the European Union.

– TIMES / AFP / BLOOMBERG

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Amid the pandemic, Argentinian couples ask “can I give birth to a child?” “

Claudia Becerra, 38, and Agustin Cacciola, 32, pose for a photo at their home in Buenos Aires, Argentina on July 15, 2021. Photo taken on July 15, 2021. REUTERS / Matias Baglietto reuters_tickers

This content was published on July 28, 2021 – 12:26

By Lucila Sigal

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – In Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, a city famous for its passionate tango dance and romance, the pandemic is putting a damper on couples making babies, with birth rates down by a quarter since that COVID-19 hit early last year.

Claudia Becerra and her boyfriend Agustín Cacciola have long dreamed of having a child, but strict quarantines and economic malaise from the impact of the virus have made them push back their plans.

“Uncertainty is the most difficult thing we face,” Cacciola, a 32-year-old lawyer, told Reuters alongside Becerra, an accountant, at their home in the Belgrano neighborhood. He lost his job earlier in the pandemic, which affected their finances.

Becerra, 38, has raised concerns about getting medical appointments during the closures.

“Being a mother had to be postponed a bit because of our work issues, and last year because of an economic issue for both of us and everything that happened,” she said.

Argentina has seen its birth rates drop since 2016, but it accelerated sharply during the pandemic. In the populated city and surrounding province of Buenos Aires, births fell 25% at the start of this year compared to early 2020, according to official data.

“I hear a lot of people say, ‘How can I bring a child into the world? “” Gynecologist and sex therapist Silvina Valente told Reuters by Zoom, adding that chronic stress from economic problems and fear of the pandemic have led to the drop in births.

This trend has been reflected in Latin America and beyond.

Mexico recorded a decline of 15.1% in January-May 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, while Brazil recorded the lowest number of births in the first half of 2021 since the start of data compilation in 2003. In Colombia, the birth rate fell 17.4% in 2020 from the previous year, although it started to rebound in 2021.

“The pandemic has an impact on many decisions in family life and it obviously had an impact on the decision to have children,” said Patricio Zalabardo, director of the registry of persons of the province of Buenos Aires.

Argentina has relaxed some restrictions, administered more than 30 million vaccines to its 45 million people and saw the number of cases decline from recent peaks, raising hopes that couples can return home.

Cacciola recently found a new job and the couple are considering moving to a bigger apartment, which they say makes the conditions easier to decide to start a family.

“Things have started to get back to normal and there are fewer restrictions on social activities and medical appointments,” Becerra said. “So this year we are going to make the decision to have a baby.”

(Reporting by Lucila Sigal; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Nick Zieminski)

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EXCLUSIVE Historic low river levels are forcing Argentinian grain ships to cut cargoes by 25%, ports chamber says

Grain is loaded onto ships for export at a port on the Parana River near Rosario, Argentina, January 31, 2017. REUTERS / Marcos Brindicci / File Photo

BUENOS AIRES, July 23 (Reuters) – Ships leaving Argentina’s Rosario grain center on the Parana River must reduce their cargoes by 25% due to extremely low water levels, the local port chamber chief said on Friday , with no relief in sight and the area should stay dry for months.

The Parana, which transports around 80% of Argentina’s agricultural exports, is at its lowest level in 77 years amid prolonged drought upstream from Brazil, which has impacted shipments of the country’s main exports. , especially soybeans, wheat and corn.

Drought in neighboring Brazil, where the river originates from, has reduced the amount of cargo that can be transported by ships during the height of the Argentine corn and soybean export season, with growing questions about the Parana’s capacity. to manage the wheat export traffic at the end of this year. Read more

“Today, ships charge around 25% less than when the river is at normal levels,” Guillermo Wade, director of the Argentine Chamber of Ports and Maritime Activities (CAPyM), told Reuters.

“If the situation does not reverse, and there is no suggestion that it will happen, we will lose 40% of what ships usually carry when water levels are normal,” he added, a forecast no published highlighting the potential seriousness of the problem.

Argentina is a major exporter of corn and wheat, as well as the world’s largest supplier of soy-based livestock feed. Uncertainty over Parana strikes at a time when international food prices are rising, with U.S. corn and soybean prices being boosted by drought in parts of the country’s agricultural belt.

The Argentine government asks the population to limit the use of water in order to alleviate the pressure on the Parana. Grain exports are the country’s main source of foreign exchange needed to refresh central bank reserves marred by a weak currency and a long recession.

“We expect drier than normal conditions to persist for another three months in southern Brazil. This would suggest that river levels will remain low or even decline in the coming months,” said Isaac Hankes, analyst. meteorological at Refinitiv, responsible for financial and risk management. Thomson Reuters business.

The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange has a 2021/22 Argentine wheat crop of 19 million tonnes and exports of 12 million tonnes. The harvest is done in December and January. It is an open question whether the river will be ready to handle the traffic.

A statement from Argentina’s national meteorological service called the impact of the crisis “multiple, widespread and costly.” He said the shallow depth was caused by a prolonged drought in the upper Parana Basin in southern Brazil.

“We are feeling the effects of a drought that began in June 2019. It is a cycle that is not over, and it is not known when it will be,” the service said in the statement.

Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Maximilian Heath; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Marguerita Choy

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Buenos Aires Hours | Private companies predict inflation will exceed 48% this year

Private inflation projections average 48.4 percent this year and 40 percent next.

The high levels of inflation in Argentina are the consequence of a “precarious macro-economy”, which could in the medium term lead to “upheavals in the exchange rate and prices”, warned Pablo Besmedrisnik, director of Invenomica consultants.

Several inflation projections for 2021 even exceed 50%: UBS bank (54.9%), Credit Suisse (54.1%), OJF consultants headed by Orlando Ferreres (51.8%), Moody’s (51 , 7%), Economtrica (51.6%) and Banco BBVA (50 percent).

Meanwhile, the official forecast continues to be the 2021 budget estimate of 29%, although Chief of Staff Santiago Cafiero recently admitted to Congress that it could reach 33%.

Besmedrisnik argued that first half inflation of 25.3% was “expected”, while explaining that the government is making “a very big effort to prevent (monthly inflation from going above 3.5%).

“The government uses anchors like the exchange rate, frozen utility billing and some price controls, but there are limits,” Besmedrisnik told the Noticias Argentinas news agency.

“The most likely is that [the government] will persist in these efforts until the elections, lowering inflation a bit, but doing it with forced anchors is short term and I don’t think they will be able to maintain it for many months “, did he declare.

He added that these policies “are far from being a success or a deceleration of inflation, as the Ministry of Economy says, because we are talking about a monthly inflation of 3%, which is equivalent to 46%. for the year, figures abnormal in all respects. “

Besmedrisnik said Argentina is “far from global inflationary processes, which average 10% per year, so price increases have nothing to do with international prices but with endogenous unresolved issues.”

He estimated that a successful macroeconomic policy would consist in “maintaining the level of activity and lowering inflation to 30% per annum in the short term”.

“Argentina must think beyond the elections towards a plan to normalize the economy because it is a central point to get closer to the world from which we are scandalously distant,” he said.

Last week, the Central Bank’s monthly survey of private analysts and consulting firms forecast an annual rate of 48% for 2021, down 0.3% from the previous month’s forecast.

– SCHEDULES / NA

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Buenos Aires Hours | Iran nuclear talks ‘uncomfortable’ pause, says IAEA chief Grossi

A pause in negotiations to save Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers has placed the International Atomic Energy Agency in an “awkward position,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said on Monday .

An Iranian official said on Saturday that talks in Vienna would not resume until a new government takes office in August, following last month’s presidential elections won by ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi.

“We still have a number of questions, issues that we are trying to clarify with Iran, and we will have to wait and start over with the new team when they are in place,” Grossi told AFP in an interview. in Rio de Janeiro during an official visit to Brazil.

The announcement that the process would only resume after the takeover of Raisi “leaves us in a rather uncomfortable situation,” added the Argentinian official. “I’m talking about the agency, I don’t know about the others, but I guess they’d rather negotiate than wait.”

The Islamic Republic has been engaged since April in Vienna in indirect negotiations with the United States to relaunch its 2015 nuclear agreement.

The deal officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action offered Tehran relief from international sanctions in return for limiting its nuclear program, but was torpedoed in 2018 when former US President Donald Trump walked away. is withdrawn and reimposed the sanctions.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden has signaled he is ready to return to the deal, but his administration has also expressed growing frustration as talks drag on.

“We remain open to the continuation and ultimately to the successful completion of the JCPOA discussions in a productive manner,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington.

“We recognize, with the international community, the advantage of a mechanism which guarantees in a permanent and verifiable manner that Iran cannot acquire a nuclear weapon”, he declared. “We have also been clear that this offer will not be on the table indefinitely.”

Iran lobbied for all sanctions relief, but the Biden administration said it was only open to actions taken regarding its nuclear program, not other issues, including rights. human rights and support for regional activists.

A sixth round of talks concluded on June 20. They are negotiated by the European Union, which, like Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, remains in the deal.

Outgoing President Hassan Rouhani had repeatedly promised that he would get the United States to lift sanctions before the end of his term, but indicated last week that this would no longer be possible and that negotiations would not be completed until. that he does not leave his functions. Raisi will succeed Rouhani on August 5.

Ultimate political power in Iran rests with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has given the green light both to the initial nuclear deal and to efforts to revive it.

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Argentine Vice President denounces AMIA trial

On the 27th anniversary of the bombing of the Jewish center AMIA in Buenos Aires that left 85 dead and hundreds injured, Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called the imminent trial her claims attempts to cover up Iran’s role in the “monumental scandal” attack.

“This is a judicial panel to persecute opponents of Mauricio Macri,” she said on Friday, referring to the former Argentine president, in a statement. angry video speech given at the same time as the annual ceremony to commemorate the victims of the bombing. She asked for her trial, which was due to start later this year, to be dropped.

Kirchner, a progressive leftist who served as the country’s president from 2007 to 2015, was indicted by a federal judge in 2018 for obstructing the investigation into the 1994 bombing. After conducting his own investigation into the case, the Jewish prosecutor Alberto Nisman claimed in 2015 that Kirchner had a secret channel with Iranian officials involved in the bombing and was working to protect them from any suspicion.

Nisman was later found dead in his apartment the day he was due to present his findings in court. His death was ultimately deemed a homicide, having initially been viewed as a suicide.

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The Argentinian Jewish coordination group DAIA, which is part of the group leading the accusations against Kirchner and headquartered on one floor of the AMIA building, had asked for the Kirchner public hearing to be moved on Friday.

It was only moved forward an hour, and Kirchner’s fiery speech overlapped part of the commemoration ceremony.

“July is a month of memory, of tribute and of demand for justice. It is not a month to politicize a cause. To do his hearing on the same day is offensive, ”DAIA chairman Jorge Knoblovits told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “If the feelings of the victims of the biggest terrorist attack of the 20th century are violated, it is very difficult to achieve justice and end impunity.

Fernandez de Kirchner also remains indicted in multiple corruption scandals since her tenure as president.

The AMIA commemoration has taken place virtually for the second year in a row, due to coronavirus precautions.

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The province of Buenos Aires has opened the registration to vaccinate boys between 13 and 17 years old with comorbidities

Axel Kicillof announced on Monday that the province of Buenos Aires will begin to register for vaccination against the coronavirus “boys and girls between 13 and 17 years old with comorbidities”.

During a press conference, the president of Buenos Aires assured that his government will start with the logistical task necessary to start the vaccination process for this age group when the respective vaccines are “approved”.

“Today we have two candidate vaccines for people under 18, not yet approved. Moderna vaccine and Sinopharm vaccine. Starting today, we are opening registrations for boys and girls aged 13 to 17, especially those with co-morbidities. We open the registration to Vacunate Buenos Aires through the website or the phone app, ”he said.

Last Friday 3,500,000 doses of Moderna arrived in two Aerolineas Argentinas flights donated by the United States and which will be used to speed up the vaccination plan. These doses should be used in children and adolescents who have had previous illnesses.

In the case of Sinopharm vaccines, they are already applied in children under the age of 18 in China, but they have not been approved by the National Administration of Drugs, Food and Medical Technology (Anmat) .

“We are launching an education campaign” for girls and boys aged 13 to 17. “Registration is activated. We still don’t have qualified vaccines, “but” we do have vaccines, “said the governor of Buenos Aires.

And to add: “We are preparing to be able to design the logistics of the vaccine while we already have the approval” of the Anmat. “For us this is extremely important”.

Kicillof said the case of minors “is obviously a lower risk population”, but clarified that the goal is “start the vaccination process that leads to the vaccination of those with a disease which makes it a population at specific risk with comorbidities ”.

Vaccination of minors with comorbidities is a demand that has multiplied in recent weeks across the country. Last Saturday, a group of about 200 parents demonstrated in the Plaza de Mayo to demand the urgent vaccination of their children in risky conditions.

On this occasion, they asked for the urgent application of the Pfizer vaccine because, according to them, it is the only one authorized by the international scientific community for minors between 12 and 17 years old. However, they said if Anmat approved Moderna’s vaccine for children and adolescents, he would be welcome.

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On the 27th anniversary of the AMIA bombing, families continue to demand justice

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – The families of the victims of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, which left 85 dead and hundreds injured, on Sunday renewed their demands for justice. anniversary of the attack.

Argentina’s 300,000-strong Jewish community, the largest in South America, is angry that no one has ever been convicted of the bombing.

The virtual event was organized by the association Memoria Activa (active memory) under the slogan: “27 years without justice, full of memories”.

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez paid tribute to family members who “remain strong in their demand for truth and justice”.

“In memory of each of [the victims] and in honor of those who have lost their loved ones, we must unite against impunity, ”he wrote on Twitter.

The bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA), a community center in Buenos Aires, remains the deadliest terrorist attack in the country’s history.

People hold up photos of people who died in the bombing of Jewish center AMIA that left 85 people dead on the 25th anniversary of the attack on Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 2019. (AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko)

The initial investigation was botched and marred by allegations of corruption.

In 2006, prosecutor Alberto Nisman took over the investigation and quickly accused then-president Cristina Kirchner, now Fernandez’s vice-president, of cover-up.

Iran and Hezbollah have long been linked to the attack. Based on investigations by the late prosecutor Nisman, who was Jewish, six Iranians and one Lebanese have been on Interpol’s most wanted list since 2007.

He accused Iran of ordering the attack via Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, but his efforts to prosecute five Iranian officials, including former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, were halted when the Kirchner administration signed an agreement. with Iran to set up a joint commission based in Tehran. to investigate the attacks.

Then Argentinian Attorney General Alberto Nisman gave a press conference in Buenos Aires on May 20, 2009. January 18, 2020 marked the fifth anniversary of the mysterious death of Nisman, who accused Iran of the attack. against the Jewish mutual fund AMIA in 1994 and had denounced the former president Cristina Kirchner in the affair. (JUAN MABROMATA / AFP)

Iran has never allowed its officials to be questioned, although the country’s parliament has also rejected the Kirchner deal.

Nisman accused Kirchner of trying to work out the deal in return for oil and trade benefits, basing his accusations on hundreds of hours of wiretapping.

But just before presenting his findings to Congress in January 2015, Nisman died at his home under mysterious circumstances.

Kirchner is nevertheless under investigation, accused of covering up the attack and treason.

On Friday, she called for the case to be dropped, calling it a “political scandal” and saying it was being used as “an instrument of persecution of political opponents of the Mauricio Macri government” which followed her own.

In 2019, on the 25th anniversary of the AMIA bombing, Argentina classified Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

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‘The sooner the better’: Argentina says IMF talks on track | The powerful 790 KFGO

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Talks between Argentina and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are advancing, the development bank’s Argentine representative said on Saturday, a further sign of progress as the struggling South American grain producer continues negotiations to repay his $ 45. billion in debts to the Fund.

A spokesperson for the fund on Friday called the recent talks “very productive” but declined to provide a timeline for a potential deal. Argentina supported this view on Saturday.

“We continue to move forward on important milestones and areas of agreements. We are on the right track to build (the agreement), step by step, ”Sergio Chodos, Argentina’s representative to the IMF, told a local radio station, according to a statement from the Argentine government. “The earliest would be best.”

“Argentina’s unsustainable debt level is clear. Argentina must access a new program with the IMF to pay what is due, ”added Chodos.

Argentina’s economy has been plagued by continued high inflation for more than two years, a problem made worse by the still-lingering coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Jorge Iorio; Writing by Maximilian Heath and Dave Sherwood; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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Buenos Aires Hours | Protests in Cuba fueled by worst economic crisis since the fall of the USSR

Cuba has seen its biggest street protests in decades as thousands demonstrate to demand freedom and food. The deepest economic crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a spike in Covid-19 infections, blackouts and increased use of social media have all contributed to fan dissatisfaction with the Communist regime in 62 years old.

Economic downfall
The pandemic devastated the island’s economy. As tourism dried up, the economy shrank by 11% in 2020, according to Economy Minister Alejandro Gil, its deepest collapse since the early 1990s, when the collapse of communism in Europe. the East had deprived the nation of allies and trading partners. In response, the government this year ended many subsidies and eliminated the decades-old dual currency system. The changes were necessary but also triggered an “inflationary spiral”, according to the Cuban Ministry of Finance and Prices. Some economists estimate that inflation could exceed 400% this year.

Covid-19 epidemic
Cuba kept a lid on Covid-19 infections at the start of the pandemic and created two local vaccines. But the infection rate is now skyrocketing, even though the island of 11 million people administered 7.5 million doses. As of Sunday, the country reported 6,923 new cases of coronavirus and 47 deaths from Covid-19 – two daily records. President Miguel Díaz-Canel said on Monday that having so many people infected and isolated was hurting the economy by forcing the island to devote its limited electrical resources to hospitals and recovery centers.

Hungry walkers
Cuba imports many of its staples, and the cash-strapped administration struggles to keep shelves fully stocked. He recently limited the ability of people to exchange their Cuban pesos for dollars, one of the key pieces of January’s reform package, because the government needed money to finance imports. These problems, combined with the general economic slowdown and skyrocketing inflation, mean that many Cubans are not eating enough. Besides the chants of “Freedom” and “Down with Communism” that were heard over the weekend, one of the key messages was “We are hungry”.

Exodus
The economic slowdown is also accelerating emigration. As of May of FY2021, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said they had arrested 23,066 Cubans – many more than the 14,015 they arrested in the previous fiscal year.

Power outages = blackout
Cubans are also enraged by the continued power cuts. Mines and Energy Minister Livan Arronte said on Monday that a combination of power plant outages, increased energy demand and fuel import issues due to US sanctions had leads to energy rationing. Venezuela, once a reliable Cuba ally with crude oil, has also not been able to provide much aid as it grapples with its own economic crisis.

Embargo and Twitter
For Cuban authorities, the protests have two main drivers: the 59-year-old US trade embargo and social media. The embargo was tightened in 2017, further compressing the Cuban economy and reducing the number of countries willing to do business with the island. The regime also claims that the United States has manipulated Cubans through social media into joining the protests. The number of Cubans with access to social media has increased in recent years. On Monday, the government appeared to restrict access to some sites, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

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by Jim Wyss, Bloomberg

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