Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sweet deal for Cuba

About a decade ago, Cuban farmers parked many of their tractors and went back to using oxen.
"Oxen have helped Cuba through hard times and food shortages," this 1999 radio report said.
National Geographic, 1920
Even before economic troubles struck Cuba in the early 1990s, oxen were vital to the country's sugarcane industry.
In 1920, National Geographic said the upcoming sugarcane harvest in Cuba was expected to produce enough cane to fill carts that, end to end, would stretch around the world.
In the 1990s, sugarcane production plunged. Cuba has closed dozens of mills since then and sugar is no longer the country's main industry. But Cuba plans to use its experience in sugar production to build six sugar mills, the state-run weekly Trabajadores reported earlier this month.
Workers will build the mills in countries that belong to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA by its Spanish initials. Countries in the trade alliance include Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua and Dominica.

Cutting Losses: Cuba downsizes its sugar industry
Howstuffworks video on Cuban sugarcane industry

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