Gas shortage in Cuba: Priest needs electric bicycle to offer Mass in distant parishes

bicycle Credit: Shutterstock

The serious gasoline shortage in Cuba has forced Father Kenny Fernández Delgado, a priest of the Archdiocese of Havana in the town of Madruga in Mayabeque province, to ask for help to buy an electric bicycle.

According to local media reports, for weeks there have been long lines throughout the island due to the lack of gasoline and oil, which on the informal market (technically illegal) in some places can cost 500 pesos (about $20) per liter or about $70 per gallon in a country where the minimum salary is approximately $100 a month.

In addition, President Miguel Díaz-Canel recently admitted that the Cuban government doesn’t know how to resolve this crisis. 

According to, Díaz “attributed the current shortage to the breach of agreements by countries with commitments to supply gasoline to Cuba, which also have a complex energy situation and have not been able to fulfill those commitments.”

In a series of tweets shared on May 5, Fernández explained the difficulties he faces for not being able to put gas in his car since April 18, which makes it increasingly “difficult to be able to say Mass in the different towns that I serve.”

“It’s true that by staying in line for days I could get some gasoline in Havana, but then do I have to leave my parish 68 kilometers (42 miles) behind to stay in line for gasoline for days and days? The car has become a museum piece for me,” the Cuban priest explained.

After explaining how tomorrow he will go to Havana with the car and if he doesn’t find gasoline he will have to leave it, the priest said that he would have to use public transportation, a taxi, a normal bicycle or an electric bicycle.

“Public transportation doesn’t always work for me and it’s not entirely certain that the buses will come. When I can, I use it. The prices of the taxis are through the roof (800-1,000 Cuban pesos ($30-$40) for a trip of 13 kilometers (8 miles) to offer Mass in Aguacate and turn around; it’s unsustainable. For emergencies it works,” he continued.

The priest then stressed that “the mechanical bicycle is as good an option for athletes as it is exhausting, and for the second Mass on Sundays it doesn’t work for me because I wouldn’t have time to get there, and even if I had time I would have to travel 40 kilometers (25 miles) by bicycle (to go to Aguacate and then Pipián and return to Madruga in a single day), I’m sorry but I’m not a professional cyclist, nor is it my aspiration to be one.”

The fourth option, and the one he sees as most feasible, is an electric bicycle, but Fernández doesn’t have enough money to buy one.

“That’s where I need the help and collaboration of everyone who can help me raise the $1,000 or so to buy an electric bike,” he said.

“Thank you for your desire to help. Let us pray for Cuba, so that many things that have to change now can change,” the priest concluded.

Fernández can be reached at Twitter and on Facebook.

This article was originally published by ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language news partner.

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