HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel said the island's ongoing gasoline shortages were caused by countries contracted to supply the fuel not complying with their requirements due to "a complex energy situation."
In an evening TV broadcast, Diaz-Canel said the Caribbean island had less than 400 tonnes of gasoline per day to fuel all its activities, whereas the country consumes between 500 tonnes and 600 tonnes daily.
"We still don't have a clear idea of how we are going to get out of this situation," he said, in a first public statement in three weeks about the worsening fuel deficit that has plagued the country amid a near-unprecedented economic crisis.
Frustrated citizens have queued for hours - sometimes days, sleeping in their cars - to fill their tanks. Besides car owners, truckers, taxi drivers, tourists and public transport have all been hit by the shortages.
Diaz-Canel said a breakdown of a ship in the southeastern city of Santiago de Cuba that prevented the fuel from being unloaded had delayed diesel supplies, while a large part of available supplies were fuelling electricity generation.
Cuba is focusing on maintaining a group of thermoelectric plants to prevent blackouts that regularly hit the island over the hot summer months - an aggravating ordeal for those living on the island.
Diaz-Canel underlined that the shortages were a result of "non-compliance" from the supplier nations, rather than inefficiencies or issues within the country's energy institutions.
Venezuela, one of Havana's political allies, has for decades supplied Cuba with oil from its state oil firm PDVSA under a cooperation agreement signed in 2000.
According to PDVSA documents and shipping company data, the Venezuelan firm sent some 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January, rising to 52,000 bpd in February and 76,000 bpd in March.
(Reporting by Nelson Acosta; Writing by Sarah Morland; Editing by Josie Kao)