Skip to comments.Castro hits out at US biofuel use
Posted on 03/29/2007 2:57:04 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu
Cuban President Fidel Castro has strongly criticised the use of biofuels by the US, in his first article since undergoing surgery last year.
He said George W Bush's support for the use of food crops in fuel production would cause 3bn deaths from hunger.
The article in the Granma newspaper did not mention Mr Castro's health.
Officials say they expect Mr Castro - who temporarily handed over power to his brother last July - to resume activities in government soon.
Last month, Mr Castro appeared in a live radio broadcast for the first time since falling ill.
The Cuban leader's failure to appear in public - and the silence from the Cuban authorities - had fuelled speculation about the seriousness of his condition.
Mr Castro's article appears in Thursday's edition of Granma, under the headline: "Condemned to premature death by hunger and thirst more than 3bn people of the world."
In it, he says he has been "meditating quite a bit since President Bush's meeting with North American automobile makers".
During that meeting on Monday, Mr Castro writes, "the sinister idea of converting food into combustibles was definitively established as the economic line of foreign policy of the United States".
Mr Bush has set targets for an increased use of ethanol - which in the US is mainly made from corn. The US government hopes this will reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil.
The US and Brazil recently signed an agreement to develop biofuels, and their presidents are expected to hold further talks on the matter at the weekend.
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If it uses corn-based ethanol, it is accused of causing people to starve. (Also, environmentalists argue that increasing use of farmland decreases biodiversity).
What a lose-lose situation.
Isn't Al Gore also in favor of the use of biofuels? Stange, isn't it, that Castro gives him a pass and blames it on Bush?
Ha, ha! Our fault that people are starving in Cuba because we don't produce enough food.
Well Mr. Castro, I wonder how many Cubans will be saved by your death alone? How much longer btw?
We should just take over cuba, make it a nice resort town, suck all the oil out and take all the sugar cane for ethanol the hippies want to buy.
Hell, it's a lot closer than iraq.
They must have given old Fidel a bunghole transplant.
Believe it or not, but the USA is the leading importer to Cuba.... almost all of the exports being food.
True. Castro had an artificial anus implanted by the high priced private surgeons he flew in from Europe.
Oh my. LOL!!!!! What does the writing say?
"Assh*le surgery".... I believe.
Fidel is known to be a voracious reader with an outstanding memory for detail and minutae. He should know, undoubtedly knows, that extracting ethanol from corn for example, does not preclude using the remainder as animal feed. It's not an all-or-none scenario for that.
Hahahahahahaha! I keep thinking about this hippie chick I got into an argument with about running cars on alcohol. Ha! Even Castro is against it. I wish I would have known that and could have included that in my arguments. She would have been speechless. Save the planet and starve the humans!
Actually, Marxism causes death from hunger. Case in point: Zimbabwe, former breadbasket and current basket case of Southern Africa.
"He said George W Bush's support for the use of food crops in fuel production would cause 3bn deaths from hunger."
Do we have 3 billion people in this country?
Hey Fidel, it is our crops do do what we want with them. If you want food, grow it.
Can we make biodiesel out of Castro?
somebody tell Castro, that tobacco is not food.
Too bad he ruined the soil by overfarming or Cuba could develop a cash crop in ethanol.
Let me get this right. Half of the world's population is going to starve starting tomorrow morning if I fill up with E-85? Bwahahahaha!
Them damn narcotics have made Fidel null and void.
It's a tough one to consider. I'll wait until Dan Rather goes down there and explains it all to me. Harry Belafonte will do in a pinch.
I have been driving on E-85 for largely personal reasons. From now on, I can wallow in the smugness of knowing it breaks Fidel's heart as well.
The US produces more ethanol now than Brazil does and still imports ethanol from Brazil. Brazil may have a higher percentage of biofuel use, but the US uses more gallons.
Does that include or exclude ethanol produced for human consumption? Lotsa "corn squeezins" coming out of the stills at McCormick and Jack Daniels.
i sure hope that fidel thanked nancy pelosi for the donation
Just fuel (denatured) ethanol.
ROTFLMAO!! I'll have to admit, I never thought of that 'angle'.
Castro has a point.
Using food for fuel is dumb. Make the world dependent upon us for food and then use food as a weapon. (The Middle East does this with oil, we should do this with food.)
Does the United States, or Canada, have some sort of "duty" to feed the rest of the world with our successful, productive farmlands? It was to the advantage of our farmers to sell surplusses of grain to Red China and the USSR back in the old days, but if they can find better paying markets for it, why wouldn't they take advantage of it? It's not our fault that various socialist countries around the world are consistenly unable to feed themselves (ie "40 years of bad harvests").
The funny thing is, I agree with him - turning valuable foodstuff into fuel is not viable in the long run, IMO, and is mostly only profitable to farmers due to subsidies.
Well, gosh. Now I'm torn.
On the one hand, I think using food crops to produce fuel is stupid. On the other hand, anything Castro is against, I am for.
What a pickle ...
Cuba is making aggressive measures to develop a sugar cane to ethanol program. The fact is easily determined (took me 15 seconds on Google) and utterly ignored in the shabby, lazy BBC and US lamestream media. Don't want to make their demi-god Fidel look like the mega-liar he is.
Using corn as a feedstock for ethanol is not the most efficient usage of surplus farmland.
But until some better fuel technologies and farming techniques come along, it is a good start.
And I really don't give a rip about Fidel's point of view. I grew up in Miami, and have a lot of Cuban friends. Screw him.
Holy cow, I agree with El Presdiente.
Cost of corn tortillas going up socialism going down.
Fidel is pissed because his buddy Hugo is not getting any money from biofuels.
As for hunger, I don't think hunger has been caused by low food production in over a century. Famine in the 20th century was typically caused by politics. Just ask the Ukrainians.
Mark Muller and Richard Levins of the Institute for Agriculture and Policy Trade, point to evidence that we are net extractors of food from the Third World.
For example, many of the foods that we have encouraged (and sometimes forced) second and third world producers into growing for us are high value luxury foods, rather than traditional staple foods of that country.
Vandana Shiva, for example, has documented the large-scale replacement of traditional coastal rice farms with shrimp farms for the export market (Shiva, Stolen Harvest 23). Much of the best land in South America, Asia and Africa is now covered with coffee plantations, producing for export to wealthy nations. Suggesting that poor nations, who have now entirely adapted their agriculture and their land to grow food for rich nations should now live on their coffee and shrimp comes with some logistical problems at best. Some second and third world nations, like Brazil, which exports quite a lot of grain, or uses it for meat production for export, would be able to avoid hunger in this scenario, others would not.
Ethics of Biofuels by Sharon Astyk
The US began dumping cheap corn on Mexican farmers and caused what? http://gristmill.grist.org/images/user/2988/oxfam_report_corn.pdf
The argument over energy used to make ethanol is moot in any case. It has enough environmental and economic negatives to bury it without that argument.
Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM’s corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpaying suckers $30. Even if we were to produce 10%-20% of our fuel energy from biofuels, we reduce US reliance on OPEC oil to zero,
while using up our existing farmland, and the grain it produces. Add in the environmental degredation and it’s a clear loser. http://www.globalsubsidies.org/IMG/pdf/biofuels_subsidies_us.pdf
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