Cuba replaces energy minister as hour-long blackouts cause unrest

Cuba replaces energy minister as hour-long blackouts cause unrest

HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Cuba's communist authorities have swapped their life and mining ministers with Vicente de la O Levy, head of the state electronics company, official media reported on Monday as the nation struggles to maintain time to contain -Prolonged power outages that could result in power outages have sparked unusual protests across the island.

The announcement on state television did not clarify the reasons for Arronte's replacement. But the election comes as Cuba grapples with one of its worst energy crises, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and harsh sanctions imposed by the United States under the administration of US President Donald Trump.

These sanctions have largely remained in place under Trump's successor, Joe Biden.

The government also announced on Monday that it would change the head of the state grid operator.

The power cuts, now lasting 12 hours a day and more, struck a political nerve in Cuba. Operations began earlier this year and have spread to all provinces in the country, most recently to the capital Havana.

Cuba's power grid collapsed after Hurricane Ian in late September, sparking isolated protests in Havana. Since then, there have been a series of protests in provincial cities as outages continue or worsen in some areas.

Cuban prosecutors said Friday they are investigating cases in the aftermath of the hurricane in which protesters "disturbed public order and the peace of residents," along with alleged incidents of arson, blocking of public roads and vandalism, and attacks on government officials. organize.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Nelson Acosta; Edited by David Gregory

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