1 of 2 | Cuba has postponed its annual International Workers’ Day parade for the third time in more than 60 years as fuel shortages hamstring the country. File photo by Ernesto Mastrascusa/EPA-EFE
April 30 (UPI) -- Cuba has postponed its annual International Workers' Day parade for the third time in the last four years as fuel shortages hamstring the country.
The Workers Central Union of Cuba, which organizes the event as the only government-sanctioned trade union, announced the decision on Sunday. President Miguel Díaz-Canel said rain will prevent celebrations on Monday, postponing it for five days.
"The rain in a good part of the country will prevent us from going out to celebrate #1Mayo," he tweeted. "We do not cancel the celebration, we postpone it for the next day 5."
The western region of the island is in a severe thunderstorm warning on Sunday. The system passing over Cuba has the potential to cause flash flooding, the Cuban government said in a post on Facebook.
Diaz-Canel has said Cuba is receiving about two-thirds of the fuel it needs, due to suppliers in other countries not fulfilling their contractual obligations. Venezuela, Cuba's largest supplier of high-grade crude oil, is reportedly delivering about half as much as it normally does. Diaz-Canel has reportedly not faulted Cuba's trade partner for the shortcoming, noting that Venezuela is also dealing with an energy crisis.
Cuba also cannot process the crude oil it receives from the United States. Along with crude oil, Cuba is unable to acquire the diluents needed to refine the low-grade crude oil from the United States, according to The New York Times. According to the president, Cuba uses up to 600 tons of fuel every day.
As a result, Cuba has been rationing its fuel for more than a week, limiting the volume of fuel being sold per vehicle, according to Bloomberg.
The parade once drew millions of people to Revolution Square in the capital city of Havana. BBC reports that hundreds of thousands of people are usually brought to the square by bus for the parade.
Aside from 2020 and 2021 when the parade was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last time the parade was canceled was in 1959 during the Cuban Revolution. The revolution saw Fidel Castro rise to power, supplanting Fulgencio Batista as president.