Communist-governed Cuba imports more than two-thirds of its food, despite having rich farmland and hundreds of urban farms sprouting up in old parking lots, rooftops, or other small plots of unused land. The country spends more than $2 billion a year importing rice, meat, grains and other foods which analysts and local farmers say could be produced at home, Reuters reports:
The government, under President Raul Castro, says it is serious about producing more food for Cuba’s 11 million citizens, and some environmentalists have praised it for supporting organic urban farming, which uses no chemical pesticides or fertilizers. But local farmers and analysts say Cuba will not achieve self-sufficiency in food in the near future, despite improved trade with the United States after Washington re-established diplomatic relations last year with its former Cold War foe.
More than a year after the announcement of the restoration of relations between the United States government and the Havana regime, the direction that the political and economic landscape of our island will take remains uncertain, writes dissident analyst Antonio G. Rodiles [above, after being assaulted by pro-regime thugs]:
The administration of President Barack Obama has outlined and is delivering a broad agenda full of concessions to the regime without asking for or receiving anything in return, either for the United States or for the Cuban people……The United States government has validated the Castro regime as a political actor, and expects that internal and external sectors, including the opposition, accept this premise and develop strategies based on it.
There is strong concern that a trip to Cuba by the United States president will be another boost to neo-Castroism, he notes, supporting three basic steps proposed by the Forum for Rights and Freedoms (ForoDyL) are:
- Immediately cease the repression against every Cuban who defends their fundamental rights and freedoms. Amnesty for political prisoners or prisoners confined for acts with political connotations.
- Ratification and monitoring of the implementation of the United Nations Covenants on Human Rights.
- Formal meeting with a representation of the Cuban opposition.