The Former Newspaper™ discovers Cuba’s apartheid system, blames embargo

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The Former Newspaper™ discovers Cuba's apartheid system, blames embargo

Nine or so years ago I spent an after­noon at the Prince­ton Pub­lic Library watch­ing two American-​made Cuban pro­pa­ganda films. One of the films was titled The Power of Com­mu­nity: How Cuba Sur­vived Peak Oil.

At the time I wrote,

The film praises the virtues of Medieval agri­cul­ture as prac­ticed in modern-​day Cuba, includ­ing the return to the use of oxen, and how supe­rior plow­ing a field with two oxen is, com­pared to using trac­tors. My late father, who was not Cuban, had a farm and if he got wind of that he would have turned in his grave.

After I posted that, a his­to­rian friend joked that the agri­cul­tural prac­tices I described date back to the Iron Age, if not ear­lier, so let’s not give the Mid­dle Ages a bad name.

Fast-​forward to yesterday’s arti­cle in The For­mer News­pa­per™ (as Andrew Kla­van calls the NYTimes), Cuba’s Surge in Tourism Keeps Food Off Res­i­dents’ Plates by Azam Ahmed:

Tourists are quite lit­er­ally eat­ing Cuba’s lunch. Thanks in part to the United States embargo, but also to poor plan­ning by the island’s gov­ern­ment, goods that Cubans have long relied on are going to well-​heeled tourists and the hun­dreds of pri­vate restau­rants that cater to them, lead­ing to soar­ing prices and empty shelves.

Yes, for­eign­ers and any­one else pay­ing in dol­lars eat bet­ter than ordi­nary Cubans (be assured that the régime’s elite are not going hun­gry). As in health­care, the dic­ta­tor­ship has an apartheid sys­tem against its own people.

Oth­er­wise, like Rick in Casablanca, Mr. Ahmed was misinformed:

To this day, ordi­nary cubans are liv­ing in a régime where food rations are poorer than they were for slaves under the Span­ish Empire.

Nine years ago I quoted IBD: “The inescapable fact is that Cas­tro has ruined the most indus­tri­al­ized Latin Amer­i­can coun­try, and a food importer, and now the U.S. is Cuba’s food life­line:

Cas­tro, whose ruined nation shipped $780 mil­lion worth of veg­eta­bles, sugar and agri­cul­tural exports to the U.S. in the 1950s, has turned his nation into a lunar waste­land over his 48-​year dic­ta­tor­ship, its famous sugar indus­try now gone. Does Cas­tro take respon­si­bil­ity? No. He blames global warm­ing, not his dis­as­trous decisions.

But Cuba’s land lies in ruin not because of bad weather but because its mas­sive propaganda-​driven ‘great sugar har­vests’ of the 1960s ruined the land in the name of mak­ing Castro’s arbi­trary quota — and because no cit­i­zen can own or trade land for its most effi­cient use. Now, Cuba grows so lit­tle food it must import it from the very nation its leader denounces and under­mines and blames.

In fact, it’s Castro’s dirty secret: The U.S. is Cuba’s food life­line. The U.S. sells $340 mil­lion in food a year to Cuba just so its ration books can be worth the paper they’re printed on.

The U.S. is Cuba’s top trade part­ner, but Cuba ranks only 32nd on the U.S. list.”

In the first seven months of this 2015, U.S. agri­cul­tural exports to Cuba totaled $122 mil­lion, and like every­thing else in Cuba, you have to go through the Com­mu­nist régime’s machi­na­tions (empha­sis added),

All U.S. agri­cul­tural goods must be sold to one state-​owned com­pany, Alimport, and many Cuba observers gen­er­ally believe the Cas­tro régime uses it as a polit­i­cal lever. Dur­ing much of the 2000s, Alimport pur­chased U.S. agri­cul­tural prod­ucts from dozens of states with the hope of gar­ner­ing sup­port from the states’ respec­tive law­mak­ers to repeal the embargo.

The pur­pose of this lob­by­ing ini­tia­tive pres­sur­ing Con­gress to end what remains of the embargo? To guar­an­tee the sur­vival of the Com­mu­nist dictatorship.

Cuba’s Surge in Tourism” is not what “Keeps Food Off Res­i­dents’ Plates;” what’s keep­ing food off res­i­dents’ plates is Communism.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, news, and cul­ture at Fausta’s Blog.

Nine or so years ago I spent an afternoon at the Princeton Public Library watching two American-made Cuban propaganda films. One of the films was titled The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.

At the time I wrote,

The film praises the virtues of Medieval agriculture as practiced in modern-day Cuba, including the return to the use of oxen, and how superior plowing a field with two oxen is, compared to using tractors. My late father, who was not Cuban, had a farm and if he got wind of that he would have turned in his grave.

After I posted that, a  historian friend joked that the agricultural practices I described date back to the Iron Age, if not earlier, so let’s not give the Middle Ages a bad name.

Fast-forward to yesterday’s article in The Former Newspaper™ (as Andrew Klavan calls the NYTimes), Cuba’s Surge in Tourism Keeps Food Off Residents’ Plates by Azam Ahmed:

Tourists are quite literally eating Cuba’s lunch. Thanks in part to the United States embargo, but also to poor planning by the island’s government, goods that Cubans have long relied on are going to well-heeled tourists and the hundreds of private restaurants that cater to them, leading to soaring prices and empty shelves.

Yes, foreigners and anyone else paying in dollars eat better than ordinary Cubans (be assured that the regime’s elite are not going hungry). As in healthcare, the dictatorship has an apartheid system against its own people.

Otherwise, like Rick in Casablanca, Mr. Ahmed was misinformed:

To this day, ordinary cubans are living in a regime where food rations are poorer than they were for slaves under the Spanish Empire.

Nine years ago I quoted IBD:  “The inescapable fact is that Castro has ruined the most industrialized Latin American country, and a food importer, and now the U.S. is Cuba’s food lifeline:

“Castro, whose ruined nation shipped $780 million worth of vegetables, sugar and agricultural exports to the U.S. in the 1950s, has turned his nation into a lunar wasteland over his 48-year dictatorship, its famous sugar industry now gone. Does Castro take responsibility? No. He blames global warming, not his disastrous decisions.

“But Cuba’s land lies in ruin not because of bad weather but because its massive propaganda-driven ‘great sugar harvests’ of the 1960s ruined the land in the name of making Castro’s arbitrary quota — and because no citizen can own or trade land for its most efficient use. Now, Cuba grows so little food it must import it from the very nation its leader denounces and undermines and blames.

“In fact, it’s Castro’s dirty secret: The U.S. is Cuba’s food lifeline. The U.S. sells $340 million in food a year to Cuba just so its ration books can be worth the paper they’re printed on.

“The U.S. is Cuba’s top trade partner, but Cuba ranks only 32nd on the U.S. list.”

In the first seven months of this 2015, U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba totaled $122 million, and like everything else in Cuba, you have to go through the Communist regime’s machinations (emphasis added),

All U.S. agricultural goods must be sold to one state-owned company, Alimport, and many Cuba observers generally believe the Castro regime uses it as a political lever. During much of the 2000s, Alimport purchased U.S. agricultural products from dozens of states with the hope of garnering support from the states’ respective lawmakers to repeal the embargo.

The purpose of this lobbying initiative pressuring Congress to end what remains of the embargo? To guarantee the survival of the Communist dictatorship.

“Cuba’s Surge in Tourism” is not what “Keeps Food Off Residents’ Plates;” what’s keeping food off residents’ plates is Communism.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.