Wed. May 29th, 2024

The regime in Cuba is just starving its people because they’re so power-hungry

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May19,2024

The Cuban people are mired in a tragic paradox. Their land is full of potential, yet hunger persists. How can this once-prosperous island, rich in natural resources and famed for its sought-after agricultural products, be depleted to the fruitless hull it has become?

Between 1945 and 1953 (the last available statistics on this subject before Castro took power), the United Nations estimated that Cubans had an average calorie intake of 2,730 per Cuban per day, equal to that of Germany, and greater than that of Austria, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and India, among others.

In 1958, Cuba’s industrial wages were the eighth-highest in the world and its agricultural wages ranked seventh. In the 1950s, with half a day’s wages, a Cuban worker could purchase seven eggs, 2,600 grams of sugar, 1,500 grams of bread, 380 grams of butter, and 390 grams of meat. And in 1957, Cuba’s annual inflation rate was 3.1 percent. 

Today, quite a bit has changed. Cuba is suffering an acute food shortage and is now rationing food. Its regime has been forced, for the first time in its history, to beg for powdered milk from the UN’s World Food Programme.

In August 2023, the regime admitted that it had been selling syrup instead of subsidized milk for children, ranging from 7- to 13-year-old, at government stores that are part of the food-rationing system in provinces such as Guantánamo. Thousands of Cuban children were therefore not drinking any milk, as only a few Cubans were able to buy food at foreign-currency stores.

In 2024, Cubans cannot even count on the food-rationing system that helped them barely survive the 90’s economic crisis of the post-Soviet period, because the regime’s decision to reduce food subsidies has been compounded by severe food shortages that include staple foods of the Cuban diet such as eggs and rice. For instance, in October 2023, the regime informed the population that egg production had fallen by 56 percent (from 5 million eggs each day to 2,2 million) because there was not enough feed. Rice production has likewise decreased by 10 percent.

Meanwhile, annual inflation in Cuba is about 30 percent officially, though some economists suggest it’s closer to 80 percent. Its currency, once at par with the U.S. dollar, is now worthless. And Cuba’s last sugar harvest had the worst output since 1898, when the country was engulfed in its war of independence.

Cubans remain hungry and are fed up with the senselessness of it all. The world has long learned to take Cuba’s poverty for granted. Few are left to remember the days when the island was the economic powerhouse of the Caribbean.

How did we get here, to the collapse of Cuba’s productive apparatus? Since 1959, Cuba has consistently suffered from scarcity, low production, and poor distribution of natural resources. It’s no mystery why.

As early as November 1959, Manuel Artime courageously warned Cubans of what was coming. A captain in Fidel Castro’s rebel army and one of the leaders of the agrarian reforms, Artime had witnessed the secret totalitarian maneuvers of the so-called National Institute of Agrarian Reform. He wrote to Castro about what he had seen: “I refuse to witness the hunger that will come upon Cuba because you want to impose that violent communization, with inept men, even for this.”

Artime’s prophetic warnings went unheeded, but he was right. A deadly combination of malevolence, failed doctrines and ineptitude have brought about famine in Cuba. Communism has conspired, with the sole objective of securing power, against the very nature of Cuba and Cubans. An island blessed with some of the most fertile soils in the world has been punished by dogmatism.

Cuban peasants have been regulated to the point of becoming unproductive. More than 50 percent of Cuba’s land is now fallow. The invasive Marabú weed covers nearly 20 per cent of the nation’s territory, taking over a centuries-long legacy of unique agriculture on a unique soil.

A country that easily produced its own food until 1960 is now fully dependent on food imports. And this is not an anomaly. Wherever communism has been imposed, food production has suffered. What’s more, the structural economic reforms of communist countries such as China and Vietnam were centered around land reforms that returned land to individual producers. But Cuban authorities are afraid to make political and economic reforms that could be perceived as concessions to a population longing for freedom. Therefore, the totalitarian system will not act.

Communism has caused chronic hunger in Cuba. Only an unnatural system could push such an industrious population into desolation. To end hunger in Cuba, communism must end.

If change in Cuba does not uproot communism, if there is not a full return of sovereignty to the Cuban people and an immoral hybrid system is imposed upon them, that suffering nation will regain neither freedom nor prosperity.

Cubans will not find relief from the suffering of deprivation until the freedom they have been cruelly denied is restored.

Dr. Orlando Gutiérrez-Boronat is coordinator of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance. 

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “The regime in Cuba is just starving its people because they’re so power-hungry”
  1. The regime in Cuba is just starving its people because they’re so power-hungry. It’s heartbreaking to see such potential in the country go to waste while the citizens suffer from hunger. The statistics from the past highlight the stark difference from the current situation, where the people are now rationing food and the government is unable to provide basic necessities like milk for children. It’s a tragic situation that needs urgent attention.

  2. I am appalled by the state of affairs in Cuba. The regime’s actions are causing unnecessary suffering to the Cuban people. It’s heartbreaking to see a country with such potential struggle with hunger. Something needs to change.

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