U.S. blockade causes multi-million sum damages to Cuban agriculture

Source:  Granma
October 22 2015

The damages caused by the blockade on the island were explained during a press conference at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG)

by Sheyla Delgado | sheyla@granma.cu

In a period of just one year, from March 2014 to the same month of 2015, the U.S. blockade has cost Cuban agriculture a sum of no less than $451,520,000 dollars.

cuban agriculture 3The numbers were confirmed yesterday by Juan José León, head of the International Affairs Department of the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG), during a press conference held at the Ministry headquarters.

According to the official, general damages are broken down as follows: $228.7 million U.S. dollars for income lost due to restrictions on exports of goods and services; $128.4 million for losses related to the geographical relocation of trade; $30.5 million related to losses in production and services; and the remainder results from inaccessibility to technology, financial damages and the effects of emigration and the brain drain, in that order.

The overall figure of losses associated with the blockade represents an increase of $144 million dollars, and the highest incidence results from the calculations made on products which the country is unable to obtain, affecting the supply of basic goods. Also affected are items such as rice, beans, corn and coffee, León explained.

The lack of access to spare parts and the latest technology, the reluctance of foreign companies to enter into contracts with Cuba for fear of sanctions, the restrictions on imports and exports, and other aspects impacting on livestock, rice and fruit production, production, among other areas, continue.

Regarding the tobacco industry, losses were estimated at over $149 million dollars. The benefits of the possibility of Cuba’s Premium tobacco entering the U.S. market were also underlined.

Source:   U.S. blockade causes multi-million sum damages to Cuban agriculture  Granma

One thought on “U.S. blockade causes multi-million sum damages to Cuban agriculture

  1. As in the case of the huge negative impact of the criminal US blockade on Cuba’s health care sector which has caused losses of nearly $3 billion iduring the life of the revolution, the nearly $1/2 billion damages imposed on Cuba’s agriculture in the last year (March 2014 to March 2015) by the blockade are hugely responsible for less economic growth, development and prosperity in Cuba.

    However, it should be emphasized that this commentator is not blaming the US blockade as the sole reason for Cuba’s sluggish growth and relatively low material progress in recent years. Indeed, that would be idiocy since the Cuban economy has experienced comparatively strong growth in previous years with the blockade firmly in place during those years. However, what is unapologetically being affirmed here as the Cuban government itself has affirmed is that the US economic blockade has imposed enormous economic costs on the Cuban economy and its people. Some of these costs like the export and import losses due to restrictions imposed by the blockade on Cuban commodities and foreign commodities being traded are easily quantifiable though others such as the less tangible trade-offs in a more robust night life activities, losses in worker productivity due to breakdowns in buses and trains or old American cars and late arrivals of workers to work among others are more difficult to measure.

    However, like the more tangible and measurable economic costs, the latter less tangible and less easily quantifiable costs are equally important in computing the overall costs of the blockade on the Cuban economy and ultimately its people who clearly bore the brunt of these costs caused by the odious blockade.

    In this regard, it seems just that three interrelated processes should and perhaps will unfold if in fact the relationship between the US and its former lucrative neo-colony, Cuba is to be truly normalized.

    First, the Cubans need to continue to publize the costs of the blockade on their economy, sector by sector so as to educate not only the Cuban people themselves about the role of the blockade as an impediment to their improved material and spiritual life over the years. However, it is perhaps more important that the American people particularly the power centers and interest groups such as labor unions, women groups, corporations, banks and others be also informed about the devastating costs of the blockade on the Cuban economy and its people. Why is this important? Largely, I believe because these groups can play and will perhaps play a critical role in ending the blockade. Thus, I believe that not only is the public relations battle aimed at “winning” a critical mass of the American population important but also the political battle to at least influence the emerging coalitions of Americans and global citizens to end it. In this regards, the agricultural, industrial and financial interests as well as researchers, academics, artists and other cultural workers who understand the blockade as a hindrance to their profits in the case of the first three groups and more generally as an hindrance to scientific and cultural collaboration in the case of the other groups should not be underestimated.

    These groups are yearning for more economic, scientific and cultural spaces that the US blockade against Cuba and the American people has suffocated and hindered for all these decades.

    Secondly, the aforementioned economic interest groups and cultural, academic, scientific and other groups have lost out in economic, cultural and many other ways due to the blockade and must raise their voices loudly to the powers that be as American citizens who want to do business and have cultural and scientific exchanges with the Cuban people. There is no nor can there be any ” normalized relations” between Cuba and the US when Cuban companies cannot sell their rum, sugar, nickel, tobacco,education and health care services, sports and tourist services in US markets. It is equally unacceptable that American rice, Soya bean, corn, poultry farmers, hoteliers and financiers cannot sell their products in Cuban markets as it is unacceptable when Cuban and American academics and scientists cannot engage in intellectual and scientific exchanges and collaboration.

    The fact is that the odious imperialist blockade is not only against Cuba’s interests, it is also against the interests of ordinary Americans and it is also against even the interests of US corporate interests to make money in Cuba. Yes, it is true, US imperialism or at least its most reactionary leaders such as the gambling and casino interests, the landowning and merchant interests who supported and still support the blockade are opposed to the corporate interests of the farmers, industrialists and other more “enlightened capitalists” making money in Cuba. Thus, they are even opposed to the very logic of capitalism, namely, profit making and ” free enterprise.”

    Thirdly and finally, the Cuban government and its people are within their sovereign rights and international law to seek compensation for the devastating costs that the US imposed blockade has caused the Cuban economy and people over the last 55 years. Cuba’s demand for economic compensation as a condition for a “nor
    malized relationship” must include not only the costs for losses due to markets closed to Cuba’s exports and imports, the costs of inaccessible technologies and so on but they must also include US economic aggression and terrorism against Cuba such as US germ and biological warfare, bombings of hotels so vital for Cuba’s tourism sector, the blowing up of the Cuban plane among other economic crimes.

    Needless to say, Cuba’s territory, Guantanamo Bay where the US government has tortured and imprisoned hundreds of mainly Muslim men and which has been forcibly occupied by the imperial empire for 55 years must also be returned to its sovereign owners- the Cuvan people.

    Crimes have consequences and those against the Cuban people must be paid for by US imperialism. To do otherwise would be a gift from Cuba to imperialism which has stolen too much “gifts” directly and indirectly from the Cuban and other peoples for too long now.

    “It’s impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela

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