Children in Cuba given syrup instead of milk due to shortages

The communist Castro dictatorship is substituting syrup for milk for children over the age of six due to an island-wide shortage of milk products. Yet another glorious achievement of the socialist revolution.

Via CiberCuba (my translation):

Milk substituted with syrup for children aged six to thirteen in Guantanamo

Children in Baracoa, Guantanamo aged seven to thirteen will be given syrup instead of milk due to the lack of milk and yogurt, which the Cuban state sells in rationed quantities to children within that age range.

This was acknowledged by state-run broadcaster Solvisión in a report addressing the commitment of workers from the Baracoa Beverages and Refreshments Company (EMBER) to produce a substitute for deficient dairy products.

“Children shouldn’t worry about that, because the syrup will be provided. Just like the children who receive Lactosoy, they will be provided with two liters of syrup per consumer,” stated Alexis Matos Caballero, Plant Manager of EMBER in Baracoa.

The pressure on these workers is substantial. Despite not being responsible for the dire situation, they are committed to producing 3,000 bottles of syrup daily for that “priority population sector,” which encompasses children aged seven to thirteen, including those prescribed Lactosoy.

“If there’s a power outage, we adjust the work schedule and seek alternatives. Since everything is done manually, we often continue… This requires a bit more effort to fulfill the task assigned to us at this moment,” said worker Juliana Labañino Castañeda.

In the midst of a “complex economic situation,” as stated by state television, “the raw materials are secured to prevent a shortage of the product.”

“It’s the same syrup, although due to shortages of white sugar, we’ve had to use brown sugar, which only gives us a shelf life of seven days,” Matos Caballero clarified to Solvisión.

However, the challenging “situation” doesn’t hinder Baracoa EMBER from maintaining its regular production of wine, rum, vinegar, and spirits, all of which, according to its director, remain for sale at the Flor Crombet store, as evidenced by Guantánamo’s television cameras.

“We need to produce more milk! The main goal is to produce more milk to ensure our children get what they need first and foremost – we’re primarily talking about children’s and sick people’s food; this isn’t something to be taken lightly – even without giving up the prospect that others might receive it in the future.”

“We need to erase the idea of ‘up to seven years old’ from our minds. We’ve been saying ‘up to seven years old’ for 50 years. We need to produce milk for anyone who wants to have a glass of milk. And we have the land to produce it,” said dictator Raúl Castro in 2007.

The children who are now between the ages of seven and thirteen weren’t born yet. However, their parents were: they were the children who drank milk “up to seven years old.” And their grandparents, because “we’ve been saying ‘up to seven years old’ for 50 years.”

Children shouldn’t worry about that, as the Plant Manager of Baracoa’s EMBER stated. There’s syrup for them.

It’s perhaps their parents and grandparents who are wondering if this “continuity” means another “fifty years” of children being fed this brown sugar syrup.

The scarcity of milk is one of the food crises that mark the reality of Cubans in recent decades. The situation has worsened to the point where many families raise their children without this and other foods.

The issue with powdered milk supply became critical beginning in September 2021. The Cuban government claims the cause to be the U.S. embargo and difficulties with importation due to a lack of financing and available vessels to make the journey from import locations – something that curiously doesn’t seem to affect the chicken they buy from the country supposedly “blocking” them, a fact contradicted by the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

The regime adds they’ve had to explore new markets, which aren’t the usual ones, to meet the demand. They argue that they purchase powdered milk wherever they find an opportunity, always contingent on financing, shipping, and other impediments that oddly don’t hinder hotel construction.

In recent months, the shortage of rationed powdered milk has driven up the price of this food on the black market, reaching up to 2,000 pesos in April.

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