As Venezuela stares down the barrel of Marxist collectivization, its farms confiscated, its homes and apartments expropriated, its investors threatened – the savagery of it which has never been seen on the South American continent, there’s one place on earth where the monstrous maelstrom did happen: castro’s communization of Cuba.
What castro did took Cuba straight into tyranny. He ruined Cuba. He destroyed its economy as his means to amassing absolute power. castro was evil and everything he did was a reflection of his smoldering evil heart and mind.
Now, El Universal, in a rare Saturday posting translated into English, chronicles and outlines the real story of how castro destroyed Cuba – and how the net result has been imperialization, ruined land, falling productivity, rationing and starvation itself. Cuban people have literally lost weight given the policies of the castro regime.
The El Universal story is so brutal I had to stop a few times just to catch my breath. This is what Hugo Chavez is doing to Cuba, right before our very eyes – it is the same bottomless evil that castro inflicted on Cuba.
And the world is silent.
Since this essay is so important, so critical to understanding what happened in Cuba and what is happening now in Venezuela, I am posting it in full. The whole world needs to read this first-rate essay that tells us the truth:
Life and death of the Cuban agrarian reform
The failure of socialist large estate
High-tech agriculture, massive mechanization, production specialization and unskilled urban, once-in-a-while, and “volunteer” labor failed to ensure food sovereignty. Agriculture became a state subsidized burden
On May 17th, 1959, 136 days after dictator Fulgencio Batista’s overturn, Fidel Castro signed the law on agrarian reform. It was warm, according to radicals; extremely unfair, in view of Eisenhower’s administration. The fact of the matter is that the measure looked like a longstanding compensation for underprivileged peasants, who would receive over five million hectares. Therefore, unfair apportionment where 8 percent of people owned 75 percent of lands would be balanced.
Under the new legislation, nobody could have more than 400 hectares. Four years later, the endpoint was reduced to 67 percent as the regime went increasingly soviet and small ownership was replaced with collective farms.
To the bitter end
Despite the pressure exerted by his brother Ra?l and “Ch?” Guevara to radicalize the law, Fidel Castro was tactful and moderation prevailed in the text. Therefore, some large plantations of tobacco, rice and sugar cane continue operating. Compensations were fair and timely honored.
Nevertheless, the law on agrarian reform was the first clear signal, beyond the thick wall and violation of human rights, of the way to be taken by a regime that did not dare to voice yet adherence to Marxism-Leninism.
Moderate parties, Castro’s fellow travelers so far, realized it. President Manuel Urrutia’s resignation was followed by dozen officials and leaders as a result of the process radicalization.
Business also reacted. From a front-page headline in La Marina daily, the head of the ranchers’ federation cautioned, “we will fight to the bitter end if the law is to be passed as it is.” The warning was not useless. For many years, businesspeople opposed by hook or by crook to land collectivization. Some paid with death, prison, or banishment for such boldness.
This signal was also detected in New York, where the shares of affected companies such as United Fruit and King Ranch plummeted. In Washington, the government threatened to stop the island sugar quota. A secret memorandum from President Eisenhower accounted for the reaction a few months later. “In 1898, we fought to free Cubans from tyranny. Now, we will neither help nor allow for communism to destroy permanently such freedom.”
Fidel versus Ike
The compensation flow had stopped already, and the process of seizure went faster. A radical trend came into force in a government where Fidel Castro had played the game both of moderation and revolution before the United States and the world community.
Suspension of the sugar quota by the United States did not seem to dampen Castro’s unveiled anti-US policy following a successful tour to North and South America. “Let them take economic measures. We will find a solution. They are not to tell us about cutting the sugar quota. The Cuban, united people will cope with any situation.”
They did not cut it, but terminated it in July 1960, almost concomitantly with nationalization of oil refineries for refusing to process Soviet oil. The Soviet Union entered Cuba under the aegis of Ch? and the agrarian reform.
Under Ch?’s shadow
Three years later, the rationing notebook was effective. However, food shortage had started in the late 1960’s, when production indexes, particularly sugar cane, dropped. Collection fell down from a record of 6.8 million tons in 1961 to 4.8 million in 1962, and 3.8 million in 1963. Experts thought that the debacle was due to the attempt at diversifying agricultural production to the detriment of sugar cane; focus of the production effort on industry, and government priority on education, health or steps for a repressive establishment.
As a matter of fact, collective ownership, where the state was the real owner, suffered the same fate in the capital city. Peasants gaped with bewilderment how they became state serfs, a condition even worse than unskilled laborers at the service of a landowner. In the absence of incentives, and in the face of ideological harassment and famine, rather than embracing labor, rejection and apathy about an even more exploitative system mirrored poor achievements of the Cuban agrarian model.
However, political reasons were the true source of the agrarian reform. In the pre-revolutionary Cuba, exports accounted for 40 percent of the GDP, and 80 percent came from sugar. Economy relied basically on sugar cane, the production of which was in the hands of a native business class and US companies.
At this point, the radical group led by Ra?l Castro and Ch?, challenged economic logic and made politics prevail. Rather than fair wealth distribution by removing large estate and encouraging small and medium-sized ownership; the real intention was to beat domestic and foreign oligarchy, as it had the economic power and was the major obstacle to consolidation of a totalitarian regime and state predominance.
No matter if the foundations of national wealth were undermined, the major market for sugar exports was lost, or 60 percent of farmable land was spoiled due to improper use of Soviet fertilizers and pesticides. No matter if the island became a insatiable devourer of goods, products, services and currency from mother Russia.
In the face of chronic dependence, the Soviet Union collapse was a catastrophe for Cuban leadership worse than for the Soviet establishment itself. Deprived from the imperialist providence, Cuba was totally helpless and the regime was on the brink of political and financial demise.
Then the “special period”, an euphemism for the ordeal, came. Power outage, fuel and food shortage, malnutrition, epidemics. In 1994, protein consumption dropped by 40%, and fat by 65 percent. As a result, average Cubans lost 10 kilograms.
At the time Cuba imported 55 percent of calories consumed, 50 percent of proteins and 90 percent of fat. Large, super centralized, vertically-managed production units were in final stage.
High-tech agriculture, massive mechanization, production specialization and unskilled -urban, once-in-a-while, and “volunteer”- labor failed to ensure food sovereignty. Agriculture became a state subsidized burden.
As a result, a timid process to reform the reform started as Cooperative Production Basic Units. The effort was aimed at decentralization, shrinking and some business autonomy for producers in agricultural and stockbreeding markets.
This model, according to experts such as Hans Jurgen Burchardt, makes the units “a dual entity in the middle of state company and true cooperative.” An intermediate solution, “mixed economy,” transition to capitalist ways are some of the issues to be discussed following undeniable defeat of the Cuban communist large estate.
Translated by Conchita Delgado