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Cuba slowly coming back

 
 
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 12:22 pm

HAVANA (AP) - Cuba is limiting how much basic fruits and vegetables people can buy at farmers' markets, irritating some customers but ensuring there's enough"barely"to go around.
The lines are long and some foods are scarce, but because the government has maintained and even increased rations in some areas, Cubans who initially worried about getting enough to eat now seem confident they won't go hungry despite the destruction of 30 percent of the island's crops by hurricanes Gustav and Ike last month.

"Of the little there is, there is some for everyone," 65-year-old Mercedes Grimau said as queued up behind more than 50 people to buy lettuce, limited to two pounds per person.

"I'm not afraid that I will be left without food, but it's a pain to think about all the work we are going to have to go through," Grimau added. "Two or three months ago the farmers markets were well-stocked."

Cuba's government regularly stockpiles beans and other basics, and Economics Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez said authorities are ready to increase the $2 billion they already spend on food imports annually. The world credit crisis won't affect much of those imports because U.S. law forces communist Cuba to use cash to purchase American farm goods. But imports from other countries bought with credit could become more difficult or expensive.

The government is delivering all items distributed each month on the universal ration that provides Cubans with up to two weeks of food"including eggs, beans, rice and potatoes"at very low cost. In some hard-hit provinces, extra food has been added.

But the rest of the food Cubans supplement their diets with at supply-and-demand farmers markets and government produce stands has dwindled, prompting the government to limit consumer purchases and cap prices on items including rice, beans, root crops and fresh greens.

Rodriguez has sought to dispel speculation about a replay of the desperate early 1990s, when shelves were bare and people survived for weeks on one small meal daily. Cubans who lived through deprivation after the Soviet Union's collapse say the current food situation doesn't come close.

"It is true that it will take us some time to bring the agricultural production up to the levels that existed before the hurricanes," Rodriguez told state television this week. "Nevertheless, there is no reason to speculate or assume that there will be any hunger."

Although Cuba's relative financial isolation partially protects it from the jolts of the world economy, an extended credit crisis could stunt the island's foreign currency income if Cubans living abroad lose jobs and stop sending family remittances, or if potential tourists can no longer afford to travel.

But now, Cuba's top challenge is to increase local production of fruits and vegetables sold at the farmers' markets.

Waiting at one market on a recent morning, 55-year-old homemaker Regla Suazo said, "At least with the measures I know I can buy something." Shortly thereafter, the first truck of the day pulled up with green beans, green onions, guavas, avocados, corn, squash, cassava root and sweet potatoes.

But quantities were much smaller than usual. Vendor Nadia Gomez, who received nothing that day, said police checkpoints leading into Havana now turn away trucks unauthorized to market produce in the capital or have been ordered send their goods to harder-hit areas.

Cuban agricultural officials expect six months of food shortages, and are increasing short-cycle crops such as salad greens and taking other measures to ensure everyone gets enough to eat.

At Cuatro Caminos farmers market, among Havana's largest and most varied, vendor Juan Carlos Martinez lamented he had only papayas, guavas and pineapples to sell. "This isn't the business it used to be," he said.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,033 • Replies: 18

 
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 03:55 pm
@edgarblythe,
Foolish American government punishing the people of Cuba rather than the leadership by our blockade.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 04:06 pm
@cicerone imposter,
I feel the same way, CI. The biggest reason for the blockade is to keep Cuban Americans voting your way.
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 04:51 pm
@edgarblythe,
Good on 'em.

0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 09:43 pm
@edgarblythe,
i tried to start a thread on U.S. trade with cuba , but found no one was interested in contributing to the subject .
i labelled the thread "no trading with the enemy" (perhaps that turned many a2k'ers off ) .
why not give it a try !

let me tag it on here . perhaps it'll generate a bit of interest now .


http://able2know.org/topic/113533-1
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 08:44 am
@hamburger,
Thanks, hamburger. It appears Cuba does not generate a lot of heat these days. Much like the genocides that frequently occur in Africa.
Reyn
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 03:08 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

The biggest reason for the blockade is to keep Cuban Americans voting your way.

That's an interesting perspective that I had not thought of before.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 03:29 pm
@Reyn,
Reyn, That's been obvious whether the election was for a democrat or republican. Don't mess with the Cuban vote in Miami.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 03:51 pm
@edgarblythe,
second generation florida-cubans for obama ???

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=13957528

Quote:
August 26, 2007 · Generational differences in Florida's Cuban-American population are making this historically solid Republican voting group a target for Democrats in 2008.

Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2008 08:27 pm
i watched the Buena Vista Social Club at the cinema a few years back
Fantastic
Lots of old American cars and beautiful women
(Not to mention the music - ah)
http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:DlS2SIO9jGi2yM:http://www.music.usb.co.il/images/Buena_Vista_Social_Club.jpg

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0186508/

Britain feels like a soggy old newspaper clogging up a drain in comparison
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2008 08:58 pm
@hamburger,
There's was an article in the local newspaper recently that shows (by a poll) that Hispanics are leaning heavily towards Obama on this election.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2008 11:17 pm
The European Union has dropped diplomatic sanctions against Cuba, defying the US and ending the “cocktail wars” with the communist island.

EU ends Cuba sanctions
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 06:19 am
@Walter Hinteler,
an interesting little tidbit imo :

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/cuba/canada-cuba-trade.html



Quote:
Doesn't Cuba produce oil?
Cuba does produce its own oil, mostly from a reservoir off the north coast, discovered with the Soviets in 1971, but that oil is poor-quality "sour" crude.

However, Cuba's oil production has taken off in recent years, thanks to foreign investment from places like Spain and Canada. Spain's Repsol-YPF and Cuba's state-run oil company CUPET found large pockets of high-quality crude oil and natural gas off the coast near Havana in 2004. The U.S. Geological Survey later confirmed the find.

Since then, companies from China, India, Canada and Norway have entered partnerships to drill for offshore oil in Cuba.

The find has also sparked interest in the U.S. Two American congressmen have introduced bills in the U.S. House and Senate to exempt oil companies from the embargo on Cuba.


OIL , OIL >>> tricle . trickle ... ...
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 07:32 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

The European Union has dropped diplomatic sanctions against Cuba, defying the US and ending the “cocktail wars” with the communist island.

EU ends Cuba sanctions


I was not aware, Walter. Thanks.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 07:35 am
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

Foolish American government punishing the people of Cuba rather than the leadership by our blockade.

If you can come up with a way to punish the leadership without punishing the people, I'd be all for it. Ideas?
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 07:45 am
@Brandon9000,
Screw punishing the govenment. Let that nation live.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 07:48 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

Screw punishing the govenment. Let that nation live.

Well, I was responding to a particular comment.

It must be admitted that Cuba is a complete and utter dictatorship. I suspect that any citizen who expressed an opinion contrary to the government would be arrested. Whatever we do, the government will be screwing the people.
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 11:28 am
@Brandon9000,
brandon wrote re. cuba :

Quote:
Whatever we do, the government will be screwing the people.


brandon :
if you know of any government in the world that's NOT screwing the people , could you please release the name of that country since i'd be interested in learning more about that country .
thanks for your help !
hbg
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 10:38 pm
@hamburger,
hamburger wrote:

brandon wrote re. cuba :

Quote:
Whatever we do, the government will be screwing the people.


brandon :
if you know of any government in the world that's NOT screwing the people , could you please release the name of that country since i'd be interested in learning more about that country .
thanks for your help !
hbg

Yes, most governments are oppressive to one degree or another, but a democratic government isn't to be compared with a dictatorship where people are arrested for stating disagreement.
0 Replies
 
 

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