Why is there hunger in Cuba?

The answer to the question of why Cubans are going hungry is as obvious as it is simple: communism. Orlando Gutierrez Boronat echoes Manuel Artime on how malevolent policies and ineptitude always lead to hunger and misery.

An Op-Ed via Red Noticias (my translation):

Why is there hunger in Cuba? Manuel Artime was right

This is the key, unavoidable question that no Cuban, no keen observer of the Cuban reality, should evade: How is it that after 65 years of the revolution, last month, the Cubans in Santiago took to the streets protesting that they were hungry?

According to United Nations statistics, between 1948 and 1953, the last year for which UN statistics on this subject are available before Fidel Castro came to power:

  • Cuba had a calorie consumption of 2,730 per Cuban per day, equal to Germany, and higher than that of Austria, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and India, among others.
  • In 1958, Cuba was the eighth country in the world with the highest industrial wages.
  • It was the seventh country in the world with the highest agricultural wages.
  • In the 1950s, with what was earned in half a day’s work, a Cuban worker could buy: Seven eggs, 2,600 grams of sugar, 1,500 grams of bread, 380 grams of butter, 390 grams of meat.
  • In 1957, the annual inflation rate was 3.1%. Today’s inflation in Cuba is 31.78% monthly.
  • A currency that was equivalent to the dollar now is worth nothing.

How did we get to where we are, to the collapse of the Cuban productive apparatus? Since 1959, a prosperous country has systematically suffered from scarcity, low production, and poor distribution of natural resources.

Already in November 1959, in his book “Betrayal! Cries 20,000 Cuban graves,” in a visionary and courageous manner, Dr. Manuel Artime Buesa, a captain of the Rebel Army and one of the leaders of the Agrarian Reform, warned of what was coming. He had seen up close the secret totalitarian maneuvers of the misnamed National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA).

Artime wrote to Fidel Castro: “…I refuse to witness the hunger that will come upon Cuba for wanting to implement this violent policy, with inept men…”

After publishing this, Artime would go underground. He would be one of the founders of the backbone of the Cuban resistance: The Revolutionary Recovery Movement (MRR).

He would be the civilian leader of Brigade 2506, in the Bay of Pigs expedition, and upon leaving Castro’s prisons, he would found the MRR camps in Central America, recognized for their tenacious combativeness against tyranny. A cruel cancer would extinguish him too young.

He would endure a life of struggle, sacrifice, and pain with exemplary Catholic stoicism. It is that deadly combination of malevolent and failed doctrines and inept men that has caused and continues to cause hunger in Cuba.

Artime was right. Communism has conspired, with the singular objective of imposing itself in power, against the very nature of Cuba and the Cuban. An island blessed with some of the most fertile soils in the world has been punished by dogmatism; the Cuban peasant has been regulated to the point of becoming unproductive. More than 50% of Cuba’s land lies fallow. The marabou has claimed for itself a legacy of centuries of unique agriculture on unique soil.

A country that until 1960 fed itself now depends 100% on food imports to eat. This is not an exception.

Wherever communism has been implemented, food production has suffered. Furthermore, the structural economic reforms of communist countries such as China and Vietnam were based on agrarian reforms that returned land to individual producers.

Fearful of making political and economic reforms because they understand them as dangerous concessions to the overwhelming majority of the people who desire liberation, the totalitarian system is bogged down. I suspect that, among other reasons, Alejandro Gil’s purge has to do with the need to present a scapegoat to the demands for economic reforms coming from Moscow.

The cause of hunger in Cuba is communism. Only an unnatural system can lead such a hardworking people to desolation. To end hunger in Cuba, communism must end.

For all these reasons, and many more, if the change in Cuba is not fundamental, root, and total, if there is not a complete return of sovereignty to the Cuban people, if an immoral hybrid system is imposed on the Cuban people, that much-suffered nation will have no possibility for neither its freedom, its prosperity, nor its life.

The struggle is worth it for that clear cause, and for the debt that as a homeland we owe to so many men and women who, like Artime, gave their lives for a better destiny for it.

Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat is the coordinator of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance (ACR) and author of the book “Cuba: The Doctrine of the Lie.”

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