Still, two months after the end of the 2022-2023 sugar harvest, the Castro regime has not officially reported exactly how many tons of sugar were produced. No one has wanted to face the TV Round Table and announce that this last harvest was the worst since the mid-nineteenth century
That is why we must definitively question the figure of 350,000 tons that last May (2023) gave Homero Acosta, secretary of the Council of State, who incidentally lied by stating that the national consumption of sugar is 400,000 tons, when it does not fall below 600,000 tons. The regime has been reducing it to mask the unusual shortage of sugar, which is not the same.
In these past days on the island there were exuberant tributes to the “Commander in Chief” Fidel Castro on the 97th anniversary of his birth (that August 13, 1926 was the most fateful year that anyone in the America’s has had).
Instead of paying homage to the one who destroyed Cuba, we should have highlighted at least one of the great economic disasters that gave birth to the narcissistic tropical emperor. There is nothing better than to evoke among his economic crimes the dismantling of 64% (two thirds) of the Cuban sugar industry, the largest and most efficient in the world from the early nineteenth century until he along with his brother and an Argentine adventurer named Guevara took full control over Cuba
CUBA COULD EXPORT $4 BILLION WORTH OF SUGAR TODAY
If at the dawn of the XXI century Castro I had not dismantled almost a hundred sugar factories of the 156 existing, and 60% of all the sugarcane land, and today the same six million tons (MT) that were obtained in the 50s were produced on average, Cuba would receive almost $ 4,000 million dollars only with the export of sugar, almost double the $2.17 billion it earned from all exports of goods added together in 2022.
Why so much money just selling sugar? Today the price on the world sugar market ranges between 21 and 26 cents a pound on the New York International Sugar Market (the main one for raw sugar). In the international market of London sugar is quoted between $679 and $710 dollars a ton; that’s the same price scale that existed in 2011, 12 years ago. In other words, the price of sugar has remained stable.
Let’s contrast a possible foreign exchange income of $4,000 only with the export of sugar, with the $52 million dollars that the regime had to spend in 2022 on the import of sugar (about 70,000 tons) because national production was not enough to cover domestic consumption.
EXPORTING SUGAR WOULD RECEIVE 44% MORE INCOME IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE
If we subtracted the 600,000 MT of national consumption from six million MT hypothetically produced today on the island, Cuba would have been able to export 5.4 million MT, which at 690 dollars per ton would have earned it $3,726 million dollars.
In 2022, the total value of Cuban exports of goods was $2.17 billion, according to a recent report by the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI). That is, with only exporting sugar Cuba would have obtained $ 1,556 million dollars more than with the rest of all exports combined, including tobacco, nickel, rum, pharmaceuticals, fishing, wood, works of art, fine pearls, chemicals, marabou coal, steel and cast iron, and others.
With the export of sugar added to the remaining exports already mentioned, the total foreign exchange obtained would have been $5,896 million dollars. That would have reduced in 2022 the final trade deficit to $7,633 million reported by the ONEI, generated by the imbalance of imports worth $9,833 million dollars and exports of goods worth 4.5 times less.
THE WORLD PRICE OF SUGAR HAS RISEN AND REMAINS STABLE
The international price of sugar has risen due to climatic problems in Brazil, India, Australia, Thailand and other exporters, because world consumption has remained stable and also because in some countries, such as Brazil, more cane is dedicated to producing ethanol than sugar.
After decades of surpluses, since 1994 the OIA began to report sugar shortages, and since the beginning of the twenty-first century the price began to rise, with ups and downs, until stabilizing above 22 cents per pound.
The London-based International Sugar Organization (ICO) reported that in 2022 global sugar production was 174 million tons, and consumption was 176 million. That is, more sugar is consumed than is produced, because the reserves that each country has are sold.
In short, back to Fidel Castro’s crime. Assuming in Cuba an average agricultural-industrial production cost of 15 cents per pound of sugar is produced and imported components make up 45% (very high) of that total cost, producing and exporting 5.4 million tons would be a foreign exchange expense of $803 million, which subtracted from the gross income from sugar exports would have reported to the country $2.897 billion dollars of net income.
If the benefits of sugar production are not attainable today in Cuba, it is precisely because of the much honored and remembered Destroyer-in-Chief. It is a great grievance to the Cuban people to even mention the name of the worst human being ever born on Cuban soil.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roberto Álvarez Quiñones (Cuba). (Cuba). Journalist, historian, economist, professor. Author of eight books published in Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and the USA (“Cuba: jump to the Middle Ages”, 2020, and “Cuban medieval prints”, 2010). He was editor and columnist of the newspaper “La Opinión” of Los Angeles for 12 years. Economic analyst at Telemundo (TV, California) 7 years. He is a member of the Academy of History of Cuba in Exile. He was a professor at the University of Havana and the Higher Institute of International Relations. He has lectured in Latin American and European countries. He worked in the newspaper “Granma”, and in Cuban TV as an international commentator. He previously worked at the National Bank of Cuba and the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MINCEX). He has won 11 journalism awards. He writes for Hispanic media in the U.S. and Latin America. He resides in Los Angeles, California.