La libreta del hambre
We run various sites in defense of human rights and need support to pay for more powerful servers. Thank you.
Recent Comments

    Cuba Ends Food Guarantees, Steps Back from Socialist Ideal
    New America Media, News Analysis, Louis E.V. Nevaer, Posted: Oct 23,
    2009 Review it on NewsTrust

    MERIDA, Mexico – Cuba, in an abrupt about face, is set to abandon the
    food rationing program that has been the cornerstone of its Socialist
    revolution since 1962, when the United States imposed an economic
    embargo against the island nation.

    In a rare signed editorial, Lazaro Barreda, the editor of Granma, the
    Communist Party's official newspaper, announced the end of the ration
    booklet, or Libreta, that has guaranteed an egalitarian distribution of
    food to the Cuban people.

    "The ration booklet was a necessity at one time, but it has become an
    impediment to the collective decisions the nation must take," Lazaro
    Barreda wrote, preparing the Cuban people for Raul Castro's most radical
    departure from the Socialist ideals championed by his brother, Fidel.

    The ration booklets constituted the fundamental social contract between
    the Communist government and the people: No matter what happened, the
    state would provide food for everyone.

    As Cuba encountered economic setbacks, the gravest of which occurred in
    the 1990s when, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba entered
    into a prolonged recession – a "lost" decade – the Cuban population
    became cynical of the program.

    Throughout Latin America, where poverty and hunger remain challenges for
    governments of all ideological persuasions, Cuba's government has been
    viewed as admirable for providing a minimum number of calories to each
    of its citizens.

    Cuba's Ration Booklet:
    Every Cuban is entitled to the following food allowance each month:
    3.5 kilos of rice (7.15 pounds)
    2.5 kilos of sugar (5.5 pounds)
    Half a kilo of beans (1.1 pounds)
    230 grams of cooking oil (8.10 ounces)
    10 eggs
    460 grams of spaghetti pasta (16.22 ounces)
    230 grams of soy bean past (8.10 ounces)
    115 grams of coffee (4 ounces)
    1 loaf of bread (125 grams) (daily) (4.4 ounces)

    In addition, adults are entitled to 460 of poultry (16.22 ounces) if
    available, and children under the age of 7 are entitled to 1 liter (34
    ounces) of milk a day, distributed at school.

    "It's not much, but for almost half a century this basic basket of
    subsistence – all these products costs less than a euro [ or $1.45 USD]
    each – was a symbol of the revolution's egalitarianism," Mauricio Vicent
    wrote in El Pais, Spain's leading newspaper.

    In the daily life of Cubans, however, the "Libretas" have become a
    running joke, and one that has re-introduced class differences in this
    supposed classless society. Cubans with access to dollars (from
    relatives abroad, through contact with foreign tourists in Cuba, or
    through illicit activities) have, for more than a decade, had access to
    all manner of foodstuffs from the dollar-stores. Cubans with no such
    luck have had to fend for themselves.

    Since coming to power on Feb. 28, 2008, Raul Castro has had to balance
    the Cuba he inherited from his brother Fidel with the reality of an
    economy ravaged by the aftermath of three destructive hurricanes
    followed by a global financial meltdown.

    "In the face of the current crisis, the ration booklet has become too
    much of a farce for the government of Raul Castro to keep up," Vicent
    wrote in El Pais, concluding that the Cuban government could no longer
    distribute food among its 11 million people in any reasonable manner.

    Under Raul Castro, the Cuban government has been purging the
    "Fidelistas" and replacing them with "Raulistas." The most stunning
    example was the dismissal of Foreign Chancellor Felipe Perez Roque and
    Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage. With most of Fidel's protégés removed
    from power, Raul is now beginning to dismantle what he views as the most
    inefficient relics of Cuba's Socialist principles.

    Miami Cubans remain wary of any "reform" that does not include the
    opening of the political system and the reintroduction of capitalist
    reforms. In fact, the demise of the ration booklets was long rumored
    over the summer; a roundtable discussion was posted on YouTube that
    addressed the structural limits of the Socialist economic model that has
    hampered Raul Castro's efforts to reform the Cuban economy.

    Cuba is now confronting a critical cash flow precipitated by the
    consequences of devastating hurricanes that swept across the island in
    2008, the global financial crisis and the consequences of a lingering
    dispute with the European Union, which, under the auspices of Spain,
    provided emergency food assistance to Cubans on humanitarian grounds.

    Before the hurricanes, Cuba imported a little more than half the food it
    needed from aboard. Today, more than 80 percent of what Cubans eat comes
    from abroad – and with foreign reserves dwindling, the Cuban government
    is out of cash and out of credit. It is this reality, more than
    ideology, that is forcing Raul Castro to take urgent measures, which
    will strike hardest the oldest and youngest Cubans who depend on the
    state distribution of foodstuffs for sustenance.

    For Cubans, the majority of whom are under 47 and have lived their
    entire lives with the "Libretas," the abrupt ending of the food ration
    booklets is seen as a refining – and revolutionary – moment, as if
    Americans were to wake up one morning to read that Social Security and
    food stamps have been abolished.

    And the harsh reality that confronts most of humanity will dawn on
    Cubans first thing in the morning: Where will I get enough calories to
    get me through the day?

    Cuba Ends Food Guarantees, Steps Back from Socialist Ideal – NAM (23
    October 2009)
    http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=582e9ca152d454624072878c91691b07&from=rss

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Calendar
    October 2009
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep   Nov »
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
    Archives