A Likely Story – Apparently nobody was responsible for the disastrous sugar harvest
A Likely Story: Apparently nobody was responsible for the disastrous
PEDRO CAMPOS | La Habana | 14 de Julio de 2016 – 10:07 CEST.
The newspaper Granma, charged with turning out the Government’s official
propaganda, reported a decline in sugar production this year. The causes
were, according to AZCUBA officials, “the climate’s effects on the soil
and the cane’s quality, the time lost in the industry and the harvest,
the late start-up of 13 mills of the 50 that remain, due to issues
associated with the industry, the rain and excess moisture in the raw
Don’t laugh. The best part is their assumption that Cubans are all
fools, as if these things had happened in Cyprus, as El Bacán wittily
quipped, and we Cubans knew nothing about cane, its quality and
cultivation, the organization of sugar production, or political economy.
It would be good idea to remind the gentlemen at AZCUBA and their
higher-ups amongst the ruling elite that sugar production was, in fact,
the backbone of the Cuban economy for centuries, until the “historical
leadership” decided to do away with it, and to sell off the mills like
scrap metal, or give them to their Latin American friends, because it
was not “profitable” for the ruling monopoly and in line with its
philosophy of profits. These patronizing authorities cannot seriously
expect – in a country with a legacy of sugar cane production, in which
Cubans have sown, and cultivated, and cut cane, and worked at sugar
mills, and study its history – people to believe their implausible
Everyone in this country knows that if time is lost, the milling does
not start when it should, if the cane is not of the right quality, if
there are delays in repairs to the mills… it is the fault of their
managers, and the sugar monopoly, and the Government-State-Party, it
being the owner, seller and buyer of everything and the cause of the
disorder introduced into the economy through its central planning and
its monopoly on foreign trade.
Anyone who knows anything about sugar knows that modern cane harvesters,
and the set of State tractors and carts, cannot work wet plantations.
But, as the monopoly AZCUBA, its businesses and governments don’t really
care whether the sugar is cut on time, they are content to offer the
“explanation” that “it was not possible” to start on time, or it “was
interrupted” by rain, or the necessary parts “were not imported” on
time. The passive voice is their faithful ally. Shameless!
Before the State appropriated everything, back when the cane was cut by
hand and pulled in oxcarts to the station, where it was weighed and
loaded into railroad boxes, the owners of the cane, the farmers and
owners of the sugar fields did whatever it took to produce the goods
that had been ordered, and to get them to the station. They drew upon
their ingenuity to properly load the boxes of cane, and to have the
locomotive up and running, and meeting schedules.
“That’s capitalism!” No, gentlemen at the helm of the world’s worst-
planned economy: that was decentralized planning and, above all, the
result of each link in the production chain doing its job, when each had
an incentive to do so, benefitting in proportion to its compliance with
targets set, in terms of quantity and quality. But the so-called
Socialist State, ever since it seized all the mills, and all the land,
and the farm equipment, and the tractors, and the railroad, and, above
all, especially after 1962, when it turned the people’s farms into sugar
cane cooperatives, and all their workers into State employees, (modern
slaves of officialdom, Martí would have said), logically, the direct,
material, individual interest of each link in the chain… was shattered.
And that is the true cause of the paltry production, not the string of
excuses offered up.
Since before 1962 politicians and economists have been debating
monetary/mercantile relationships, payment for work, and the deranged
idea that material incentives are capitalist… everything, in the end,
so that the bureaucratic apparatus ends up deciding what everyone should
receive, and who should be excluded for not sharing the “revolutionary”
thinking of those in power. The cooks never go hungry.
It is simple, bureaucratic gentlemen: if there are no direct, material
incentives, if workers are not rewarded for their efforts, and if there
is no sense of ownership… there can be no production, or productivity,
or development, or sustainability, or economy. Nor can there be
socialism. It’s impossible.
In order to survive and multiply, people need to eat, to dress, to have
a roof over their heads, to live with their families, and to interact
harmoniously with society. Under the conditions of modern life, this is
only possible with money, and money must be generated by work – the only
thing we call can do, a capacity with which are endowed by our very
nature. But if people are not paid for their work, what options are left
for them? Going around hungry, poorly dressed, exposed to the elements,
abandoning their families, not interacting with society, forced to
contravene the rules of civilized coexistence, and to take what is not
Under such conditions, “all work must be remunerated,” so that the
economy functions, and people work, and have something to live on, and
there is market demand. Because the market is neither capitalist nor
20th-century “communists” convinced people that by nationalizing the
economy, and by centrally planning spending and consumption, while
maintaining wage exploitation, they would build a new society. But what
they did, by establishing a wage-based, State-controlled system, was to
actually regress, from capitalism back to a kind of feudalism.
Today in Cuba nobody is buying these farfetched excuses any longer.
Those who defend today’s crushing “socialist” system clearly do so only
if they personally benefit from it.
Source: A Likely Story: Apparently nobody was responsible for the
disastrous sugar harvest | Diario de Cuba –