Despite severe food shortages, Cuban dictatorship sells tractors to tobacco growers, but not to food producers

From our Bureau of Socialist Agricultural Priorities with some assistance from our Bureau of Marie Antoinette Impersonators in Totalitarian Caribbean Hellholes

Let them eat cigars! Yes, who cares about rice and beans? So say the oligarchs at Castro, Inc.’s Ministry of Abundance, putting a new spin on Queen Marie Antoinette’s infamous quip, “Let them eat cake!”

Cigars bring big bucks to Castro, Inc. In fact, cigars are the only commodity that Castro, Inc. can actually export for profit (aside from slave doctors). So, as is always the case, Castro, Inc. is privileging tobacco farms over all other other kinds of agricultural enterprises.

So what if the people are starving? No tractors for you, bean, malanga, and yucca farmers! Your products don’t bring us income, so to hell with you. Plow and harvest by hand. You can get your children to pull the plows and harvest. whatever unprofitable foodstuffs you grow.

By the way, you lucky tobacco farmers aren’t getting these tractors as gifts. You will have to buy them from Castro, Inc. at a premium price, cash up front. No credit, no financing, no discounts for anyone.

And you Cubans can eat the inferior cigars foreigners won’t buy, as well as all the leftover bits of tobacco leaves swept from the floor of cigar factories! Tobacco leaf stem soup is delicious, and so is tobacco leaf stem tea. And never overlook the nutrition potential of tobacco scrap salad, compañeros!

O, the marvels of utopian agriculture!

Loosely translated from Diario de Cuba

“Tobacco producers will acquire some 270 tractors in 2023,” headlined the official website Cubadebate at the beginning of May, which, for a change, this time did not lie, since it will literally be the tobacco producers who will buy the tractors out of their own pocket, with their own savings. There are no discounts or financing, only the “goodness” of the permit to import and, as the infamous Tabacuba president, Marino Murillo, orondo explains, “the same thing that cost is what is charged”; that is, the Government is not going to charge them for intermediation. Hallelujah!

But if Cubadebate had wanted to be truly honest, it would have headlined: “The Government will allow —without serving as a precedent— that some tobacco producers acquire some tractors”, since, obviously, in the Cuban countryside not only these peasants need tractors nor are they the The only ones who could pay them, and if we don’t see others doing it, it’s because the State prevents them from importing machinery from anywhere, including the United States, to multiply and humanize their production.

According to data from the FAO, in Cuba there are approximately half of the tractors that this UN agency recommends —one for every 50 arable hectares—, not counting underutilization due to lack of parts, fuel or wear. On the other hand, in Cuba there are almost 78,000 hotel rooms, of which the majority were empty in 2022, for a meager total occupancy rate of 15.6%. In other words, on the Island there is a clear excess of hotel rooms and a profound deficit of tractors.

The Government plans to build 22,000 more rooms by 2030, but does anyone know what the plans are to reduce the tractor deficit?

Contrasting data from the Business Portfolio of the Ministry of Foreign Investment with data from the National Statistics Office, it is discovered that opening a hotel room is equivalent to ten tractors. In Cuba there are some 70,000 tractors (now without fuel) among which nine out of ten are antiques with more than 30 years of exploitation. To increase and modernize that figure with, say, 25,000 new tractors, it would only be necessary to stop building 11% of the rooms planned for 2030, but that is not part of the plans of this revolutionary and socialist government, whose members definitely do not buy in the desert and extremely expensive agricultural markets of the country.

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1 thought on “Despite severe food shortages, Cuban dictatorship sells tractors to tobacco growers, but not to food producers”

  1. Only Marie Antoinette never said “Let them eat cake.” The whole business comes from Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions, finished when she was 12 and before she ever set foot in France. He ascribed the words to an unnamed “great princess,” but he may well have made the whole thing up.

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