Friday, August 8, 2008

Just a Spoonful of Sugar and a Soupcon of Propaganda

Stop the presses! Cuba "hopes," Cuba "expects" to cover domestic sugar needs. Yes, folks, the country that was once described as a "sugar bowl" has been importing the sweet substance, perhaps because their production levels have been akin to those of the Great Depression.

But just to demonstrate how completely the organs of the press have been co-opted, according to AP the production levels were down because of a restructuring six years ago, and the glory years are described in the 1980's. Former sugar growing areas were devoted to farming or forests. Yeah, the capos in Havana consciously missed the opportunity to amass more wealth in order to create more forests. Really. No mention of the true heyday of Cuban sugar, pre1959. No mention of the mismanagement of half a century of communist rule. Nope. And don't give me the shibboleth about the Americans. In 1959, fully half of the sugar refineries were owned by Cubans, up from zero.

And in concert with this earth shattering development comes the announcement that Cuba is to scale back on it plans to produce ethanol. Of course by the time the news makes it to Reuters, it's a question of following comrade fidel's lead. Some cynics might be more likely to suggest that they will not produce it, just as they have not met housing quotas, because they can't; even more likely, given the recent raulian austerity speech, because they cannot afford to divert production from the sweet stuff.

No comments: