[Marxism] REUTERS: Brazil to help Cuba grow soy on industrial scale

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Jun 2 08:29:24 MDT 2008

Soy products are nothing new to Cuba which has been providing soy
milk and soy yogurt to the population for quite some time, some of it
at an extraordinarily cheap price, just a few pesos a package, and
sold to the public, not limited to the ration book. (It's sold in
clear plastic bags to the general public in moneda nacional and is
nice and tasty, too. You could pour it on granola or corn flakes 
if you wanted to. Every possible step is being taken to domestically
produce food so as to be able to limit what's imported with the
attendant transportation costs. There's a detailed discussion of soy
and its importance in today's edition of the BAHAMAS JOURNAL, which
is linked below.

While a socialist revolution would be the next best step for Brazil
and its relationship with Cuba, its prospects to not appear imminent
at this immediate conjuncture. A socialist revolution here in these
United States would be even better, but it, too, doesn't seem to be
on the agenda in the immediate, short or medium term.

Hopefully, Brazil's coming socialist revolution will include a system
of democratically-elected workers councils with a multi-party system,
just like they had in Russia in 1917. There the criticizers of the
revolutionary government could, freely and actively, denounce the
regime for every single mistake and betrayal it commits, on the
Internet and on Brazilian TV, just as they did in 1917. It will be
much more difficult for Washington to blockade Brazil than it has
been to blockade the much smaller Cuba, in any case.

Brazil's population is approaching 200 million while Cuba's is 11
million. Brazil's government has invested a fortune in upgrading its
sugar technology, which has helped it become a star in the ethanol
world. I've often wondered if there was any interest in Cuba as an
investment prospect for Brazilian sugar makers who've benefited from
what their government put into sugar technology, but I haven't heard
anything yet. 

This soy idea, furthermore, seems like it's a potentially lucrative
and ecologically sustainable project, not to mention that it's main
outcome would be needed food for the Cuban table. Time will tell.
Helping Cuba through investing in the island's economy represents a
drop in the economic bucket for a country as large as Brazil, but it
reaps many different benefits for both sides. Companies from the
United States, which themselves are active in the ethanol area, are
forbidden by US law from participating in this and all the other
areas open for potential investment because of the provisions of 
U.S. legislation.

One wonders just how long United States capitalists will continue
to put up with federal policies which deny them their God-given
right to engage in foreign investment? For the moment they find
themselves sitting in the sidelines, twiddling their thumbs as
they watch capitalists from everywhere else being welcomed into
the Cuban market, why US law denies them this opportunity. That
IS one of the reasons why some on Wall Street are seeing that
their chances might improve a bit under an Obama presidency.

And while Washington and the US media like to try to pit Brazil
against Cuba and Venezuela in Latin America, Brazil's friendly ties
with Cuba, which already include extensive economic and cultural
links make Washington's dream nothing more than a fantasy. Cuba
today is less isolated than it has ever been, since the blockade
was imposed. Part of the reason is Brazil's helpful relationship,
as the Cubans themselves understand quite well and as they also
acknowledge quite openly. 

Much food for thought here.

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California

Cuba-Brazil, Food Security Matters 
[detailed discussion of soy's importance]

Brazil is the world’s leading producer of beef, poultry, pork, 
ethanol, coffee, orange juice concentrate, sugar, and tobacco.

JUVENTUD REBELDE: Cuba-Brazil Relations Get New Impulse:

GRANMA: Cuba and Brazil Sign Food Accord 

Brazil Wants to Be Cuba's Number-One Trade Partner 

Cuba Si Saudi Arabia No

Moreover, the fact that sugar produces seven-times as much ethanol as does
corn should spur dialogue and discussions along between the US and Cuba.
Corn growers in Ohio and Iowa may not like the sound of this fact, but their
lobby needs to be overcome as does that of the south Florida anti-Castro if
such a new era of cooperative capitalism is to move forward.

It's high time that America turn its foreign policy cheek and endeavor to
reconcile its long-standing problems with Cuba so the island nation and the
world's greatest super power can forge a new win-win relationship about
energy that can both bring jobs and income to a nation starved of both and
turn its bounty of sweetness into a renewable source of ethanol fuel that
can hasten our weaning off of Middle East oil and provide a new lease on
life for hybrid vehicles that Detroit should start to make if a larger
supply of adaptive fuel could be in the pipeline.


Cuban Five Awarded Brazilian Honor

Brazil to help Cuba grow soy on industrial scale
By Esteban Israel

HAVANA, May 30 (Reuters) - Brazil and Cuba announced on Friday that the
South American powerhouse was providing technical assistance and seed to the
Communist-run Caribbean island to grow soybeans on an industrial scale for
the first time.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, speaking in Havana to a meeting of
Brazilian and Cuban businessmen, said the project represented "a new and
important moment for Cuba's development."

Amorim, who arrived on Thursday with dozens of businessmen for a two-day
visit, said land was already identified for the project and seed ready.

Brazil is one of the world's largest producers of genetically modified soy,
but it was not clear if it would be used in Cuba.

Amorim said joint ventures might be formed in the future.

"I believe we are talking about 30,000 to 40,000 hectares of land to start,
but with possibilities to extend it," Cuban Foreign Trade Minister Raul de
la Nuez said.

"We have to develop it little by little because it is not something we have
grown before in Cuba," he said.

Cuban President Raul Castro recently termed increased agricultural output
"a matter of national security" in the face of soaring international food
prices which are expected to drain more than $2 billion this year from
Cuba's coffers, or some 20 percent of imports.

Raul has decentralized agriculture, reduced bureaucracy and granted more
land and economic freedom to the private sector, among other measures aimed
at increasing output.

Raul, who took over for his ailing older brother, Fidel, in February, has
also suggested foreign investment is needed in agriculture.

The country imports 85 percent of the food it rations to the public,
including large amounts of soy, wheat and corn.

The island's largest food supplier is the United States under a 2000
amendment to the trade embargo that allows food sales to Cuba for cash.

Cuba has studied the possibility of growing soy for a number of years with
advice from Canadian and South American experts.

A number of foreign companies have proposed joint ventures to grow soy, so
far to no avail. (Reporting by Esteban Israel, writing by Marc Frank,
editing by Matthew Lewis)

May 31, 2008

Cuba and Brazil Sign Food Accord


Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim expressed Friday the
aspiration of his country to become one of the main commercial
partners of Cuba, as he signed -along with his counterpart, Felipe
Perez Roque- a collaboration accord to grow soy plants.

Perez Roque highlighted the importance of this accord which, at a
time especially decisive for food production, will allow Cuba to
count on the experience and advice of Brazilian institutions in this
economic activity.

Both officials said that the relations between the two countries are
excellent, and also acknowledged the existence of several common
interests regarding the world agenda, "especially the importance of
regional integration between Latin American and Caribbean countries,"
said the Brazilian minister during a meeting at the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.

In terms of regional integration, Amorim considered the recent
signing of the Union of South American Nations Agreement (UNASUR) "a
major step, an extraordinary victory."

Referring to the discussions between the two delegations, Roque
mentioned the detailed information provided to the Cubans about the
creation of the UNASUR agreement and the preparations to hold an
important meeting in Brazil with representatives from several nations
of the region around the end of the year.

"We have also thanked Brazil for its position of friendship and
solidarity with Cuba; for its supportive position at the UN regarding
the US economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba,"
said Roque. He also pointed out the "exceptional importance" of
Amorim's visit, which "will certainly result in a renewed boost in

Afterwards, the distinguished guest met with Ricardo Alarcon, head of
the Cuban parliament.


     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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