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The Failure Of The Sugar Industry In Cuba
Thursday, September 08, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

more of fidel's failures

While fidel castro offers to send doctors to the U.S., he can't keep one of his own major industries in operation.  Reuters reports that fidel is closing more sugar mills - after closing 71 in 2002.

"This period, through 2007, includes the closing for the next harvest of another group of mills that will be temporarily preserved," the Communist party daily Granma said on Wednesday, reporting on a meeting between ministry officials and workers.

Warehouses and workshops will be put to other uses and "more than 100 factories to produce pastas, chocolate, candy, process soy beans and corn will replace mills," Granma said.

Reuters goes on to report that since fidel seized power in 1959, only eight sugar mills have been built - eight. Industry sources say that next year, only 40 of the counties 85 remaining mills will be open.

"In recent years our Commander and Chief Fidel Castro has reiterated that sugar production was no longer of economic benefit to the country," Granma said.

How can that be? Sugar has always been a manipulated market - you can read about all kinds of manipulations in the British and French governments when they had colonies in the New World. The U.S. sugar market is manipulated by cane and beet sugar growers - then there's corn syrup. Cuba's sugar market was manipulated by the Soviet Union. But manipulation can't destroy an entire industry - especially one for which there is a world-wide market. It makes no sense.

The Real Cuba has more information - and some great photographs. In 1958, Cuba had 161 sugar mills - 113 owned by Cubans, 41 by Americans, six by Spaniards and one by the French. castro seized all of them - and this is what 46-years of communist rule has yielded - a photo of a sugar mill before castro's seizure -

And a couple of photos of sugar mills now.

But how did fidel destroy the sugar industry? It would appear through the idiocy of communist central planning. The blogger who goes by the moniker Killcastro was an eleven-year old child sent to the sugar cane fields by castro in the year that the dictator decided Cuba would produce more sugar than it ever had - 10 million metric tons. Killcastro writes:

He forgets that to accomplished this he sent every god damn Cuban , from school children to retired doctors to the fields. He of course FAILED, miserably. That year with great discontent on his part he admonished the Cuban people that they had only produced 8 tons.

Well if you know ANYTHING about sugar production you know that those fucking 8 tons DESTROYED the Cuban sugar industry. Cutting sugar cane is a very delicate operation. When you see a “guajiro” chopping sugar cane you are looking at VERY skilled labor. It takes YEARS of practice to cut the sugar cane at the right height, the right angle and the right time of year.

The amount you produce do not only depend on how much sugar cane is standing up , but how READY for harvesting that sugar cane is.

 I remember as a kid my first “Volunteer Work” as a sugar cane cutter. It has to be the worst job in the world. Sugar cane leaves have serrated edges that cut your skin like a scalpel. Those cuts would get infected and you may spend a couple of weeks laying on a hammock waiting for your fever to subside and keep cutting , or for some motherfucking RANK member to send you back home.

On my first day cutting, an old guajiro was near me , smoking the butt of a cigarette. His skin looked like cheap shoe leather. His eyes were cloudy and he looked at me and started laughing his ass off .

“Why do you laugh” I asked him “Because they way you fuckers are cutting sugar cane it will NEVER grow again” he responded.

He was right I was swinging that machete as you would a baseball bat . Fuck it I was 11 years old. !

To grow back, cane must be cut at a precise cut and angle. The amateurs fidel sent to the fields, including the Venceremos Brigades from the US, had no idea how to cut the cane properly.  Then fidel imported cane cutting machines from the Soviets. Those machines didn't know how to cut cane, either.

fidel has destroyed one of the island's major industries. Just as he has destroyed almost everything else there.



(c)1968- today j.e. simmons or michael warren