DIRT POOR IN THE WORKERS' PARADISE
March 30, 2009
New Year's Day marked the 50th anniversary of Castro's takeover in Cuba. From political prisons to firing squads to Russian missiles, his regime has been a disaster. Yet, today people hold up the Cuban food system as a model for the rest of the world. Why, asks Blake Hurst, a farmer and writer, in the Weekly Standard?
Calorie consumption in Cuba is less than the minimum recommended by the World Health Organization. Promoters of present-day Cuba tend to gloss over this fact and many more, says Hurst:
- Ration coupons allow for only about half of the needed calories and agriculture is so inefficient that Cubans spend about 50 to 70 percent of their gross income supplementing the food available through the state system.
- More than a quarter of the Cuban work force is, moreover, involved in agriculture.
- A recent article in the Cuban press, noted in a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Global Analysis, quoted a high-level Cuban ministry of agriculture official who revealed that 84 percent of all food consumed in Cuba is imported.
- A thorny bush called marabu fills many of the unused fields and has become a symbol for the failure of agriculture.
- State-run television claims that half of all agricultural land in Cuba is not farmed or is farmed in an unproductive manner.
- CNN reports that Raúl Castro is moving to boost food production by putting more land under the control of private farmers.
Source: Blake Hurst, "Dirt Poor in the Workers' Paradise," Weekly Standard, Vol. 014, No. 26, March 23, 2009.
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