The USSR went from having the breadbasket of the world to going into debt to buy wheat from America. Venezuela used to export gasoline, now it’s having to pay others to refine its crude. Cuba used to be the hub for sugar, now it’s rationing it. Socialism works. Sometimes it works so well there’s nothing left.
“In 1894, one year before Cuba’s third war of independence, the island was producing close to a million tons of sugar a year. By 1959, there were 156 sugar mills operating in the country, with a total annual production of 5.6 million tons. In the eighties, Cuba was producing an average of eight million tons per year. But this year, we’ll be lucky if we get 400,000 tons. It’s a national disaster,” he told me. Lázaro said that last year’s harvest was the worst on record, with a total of just 480,000 tons – the lowest in the last century and a half.
The dismantling of Cuba’s sugar industry began in 2002 under orders from Fidel Castro, and was aimed at restructuring the sector to make it more efficient. To this end, more than half of the 156 mills operating in the country, which employed around half a million people, were shuttered, and all remaining resources were concentrated in the 70 plants that remained, with a focus on achieving smaller but more productive harvests. “The experiment was a failure: tens of thousands of people lost their jobs, most of the mills disappeared, and production plummeted,” Lázaro told me. “Last year there were only 36 mills still in operation, and this year, that number has dropped to 23. The forecast for the 2022-2023 harvest was 400,000 tons of processed sugar, which is barely enough to satisfy national consumption, but at this rate they won’t even manage that much,”
In between the five-hour speeches and chats with Hollywood celebs, turns out Fidel didn’t know anything about running a country or much of anything else.
Lefties blame most of Cuba’s problems on the U.S. embargo, as if it doesn’t have a world full of trading partners, but how do you blame Cuba’s inability to produce its own cash crop?
Lázaro was outraged. He said that this month, in his neighborhood, “they only gave out” one pound of sugar, when the normal ration stipulated by the government’s “supplies booklet” is four pounds per person. “In the bodega, at subsidized prices, a pound of sugar costs eight Cuban pesos, but since there’s no sugar anywhere, people have to buy it on the black market for 100 or 150 pesos. Just imagine! A pension in Cuba is between 1,000 and 1,500 pesos!” Then Lázaro took a turn for the philosophical, quoting the famous Criollo landowner who once remarked: “without sugar, there is no country.” “Well,” said Lázaro, “we’ve reached the point where in the country of sugar, there is no sugar.”
!Viva la revolucion!