A Miami car dealership seeks to make inroads into Cuba's car market with electric vehicles amidst a gasoline shortage on the Caribbean island. Ciara Lee reports.
A Nissan Leaf electric car ... Not a typical ride on the streets of Havana. Vintage American and Soviet-era models still rule the roads here. But a fuel shortage for the Caribbean island could change that. The U.S., which maintains a trade embargo on Cuba, has licensed a Miami car dealership to sell electric cars to foreign embassies and private firms. So far just one has been sold... to the Guyana embassy as part of a green initiative. But with the Cuban government cutting back deliveries of high octane gasoline this month, diplomats and better-off Cubans are looking for alternatives. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GUYANA AMBASSADOR TO CUBA, HALIM MAJEED, SAYING: "It is natural that when you have one issue, one challenge, people devise ways and means to overcome that challenge, and in this particular context (energy shortages), the electrical vehicle here will help to overcome that challenge at the moment". (SOUNDBITE) (English) GUYANA AMBASSADOR TO CUBA, HALIM MAJEED, SAYING: "We had a large number of ambassadors accredited to Cuba and they all showed great interest. Subsequently, a number of them came here, looked over the car, asked questions". It's unclear how long the shortage will last and the Cuban government has yet to comment on the situation. Cuba is dependent on crisis-racked ally Venezuela for around 70 percent of its fuel needs. But Venezuela's subsidised shipments have fallen by as much as 40 percent. And two out of three Cuban refineries have been closed or have been operating well below capacity for months.