2010 May 08 Saturday
Cuba Rice Supplies Worsening

The worst days of Cuban hunger after the Soviet Union collapsed might be behind them. But in spite of 20 years to adjust to their own form of "Peak Oil" the communists in Cuba still can't grow enough food for their people.

"We are demanding discipline and order in purchases," state-run Radio Rebelde said during its Friday newscast. "Don't allow, under any circumstances, people to hoard rice so they can later sell it at a higher price."

The communist government subsidizes rice and sells it in government farmer's markets for 3.50 pesos per pound, about $0.17. But rice has become so scarce in recent weeks that "certain unscrupulous people are hoarding," reported the station, which broadcasts across Cuba and is among the most listened to nationwide.

Cuba is a living museum for communism. Cuba exists to remind us in real time that communism fails as an economic system. We should be grateful to the Cubans for playing the role of economic educators with their entire lives. Given that most people know squat about history the existence of a present day reminder serves a useful function.

Cuba's agricultural failures create business for US farmers.

Furthermore, food is not part of the U.S. embargo. For the past several years Cuba has been purchasing food and agricultural products from U.S. producers. The United States has become the largest exporter of food and agricultural products to Cuba.

So Hugo Chavez of Venezuela helps prop up the Castros and then they are able to buy from US farmers. Any country that provides financial aid or oil to Cuba is helping US farmers. Think about it.

After the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba lost out on USSR oil shipments Cuba went thru its "Special Period" where the economy contracted and food became very scarce. The government's and populace's responses to that period included a return to organic farming and lots of gardening in empty plots even in cities. Basically, Cuba did what the relocalization and transition town movement hopes to do. I think it amounts to reversing the economies of scale and that we can deal with Peak Oil without giving up most of our economies of scale.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 May 08 12:27 PM  Socialism, Capitalism

Skot German said at May 8, 2010 9:25 PM:

Is Cuba communist? Looks like a dictatorship masquerading as communism. To my knowledge, there has never been a communist country, though many have called themselves that.

ziel said at May 9, 2010 9:24 AM:

"To my knowledge, there has never been a communist country, though many have called themselves that."

That's just silly - you're using the definition of communism meaning ultimate utopian workers' paradise, which is obviously unattainable. But Cuba does advertise itself as "socialist", which indeed it is. There is no meaningful private enterprise - the state makes all material economic decisions, which is the definition of socialism.

Jerry Martinosn said at May 9, 2010 9:50 PM:

Isn't agriculture in the US socialized too? Sure there are markets but for example the market for growing Rice is heavily distorted by government intervention. They even grow Rice in parts of inland southern California, which would be impossible without massive subsidized irrigation.

Black Death said at May 10, 2010 5:02 AM:

When the Cuban and North Korean regimes pass away, we will have lost our last living museums that remind us how dreadful communist states actually are. For a nice look at what Cuba is really like, try this: http://www.therealcuba.com/

no, i don't said at May 16, 2010 5:27 PM:

Yeah well, its a sad reality for Cuba.

By the way Cuba is Socialist not Communist. Communism is utopical and a consecuence of Socialism, and Socialism is mainly a SOCIAL system more than an economic one. I can also give you examples of left-wing countries that have been better examples of Socialism than the Soviet Union like Sweden in the 50s 60s and 70s -although not officially called "Socialist"- Also, I think you still remember Miterrand's France, don't you? Felipe González did a superb job in post-fascist Spain, and Lula da Silva continues to be praised all over the world. These and other countries have been at a point better examples of Democracy than today's U.S.

See, a truly socialist country is also a truly democratic country, but people continue to confuse Capitalism with Democracy and Stalinism with Socialism to the point in which it has become impossible to seriously discuss Socialism in depth in the U.S.

Perhaps we are to think that true Democracy is a system in which banks and wall-street profits are private, but bankrupcies are SOCIAL, right? If that's what Democracy is all about I'm not so sure I would hate Socialism so much. By the way, until late 2008 Cuba was still holding the record of lowest infant mortality rate in the western hemisphere. Not making a point with that though, I just find it nteresting.

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