Friday, January 27, 2012

Brazil stays in the game

Reuters raises the curtain on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to Cuba next week, where she will continue her predecessor’s policy of economic cooperation with Cuba, including the major project of the port of Mariel.

Cuba Standard, meanwhile, found a Folha de Sao Paolo article where a Brazilian official, just back from Cuba, talked about the possibilities for Brazilian companies to invest in ethanol production in Cuba and declared, “Fidel’s resistance in this field is being overcome.”

Let’s hope that’s the case. Brazilian investment in Cuban ethanol production would bring world-class technology and know-how to Cuba, generate jobs, enable Cuba to cut oil imports and foreign exchange expenditures, and provide sorely needed revival to an economically and culturally important sector of the Cuban countryside.

Coincidentally, Brazil just granted Yoani Sanchez a visa to visit Brazil to attend a film screening.

Earlier notes on Brazil’s engagement with Cuba here and here. A Cuban promotional video on the Mariel port project is here. It’s a huge infrastructure project that expands Mariel’s capacity and allows for all the port and industrial facilities along the southern shore of the Bay of Havana to be dismantled and replaced with non-industrial development.


Antonio said...

Ay Cuba, Fidel's resistance! I believe I mentioned this before here before, but under Fidel, Cuba preferred surrendering the land to Marabu than use it for sugarcane. Still stubbornly clinging to dogma.

Peter, I don't know if you read Ivan Garcia's blog, Ivan's File Cabinet. I personally think it the second best blog in Cuba right now. His December 10, 2011 blog entry is on Fidel's experiments, and he notes that there is furniture made from sugar bagasse for sale in Cuba, only it is imported from Brazil.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult to understand why this has not been done before.

After all Cuba's situation where there are great parts of the country's agricutural lands that are unused is different than other parts of the world where the production of biofuels would require the transfer of land from food production.

All this shows two things:

1- Fidel Castro's habit of speaking impulsively without being aware of the consequence of his words.

2- How whatever he says becomes the unquestioned policy of the Cuban state even though it may be absurd.

The chief problem to agricultural production in Cuba is rewarding the agricultural workers in consumption goods for the hard work they do.

This Brazilian investment will not be successful if this problem is not solved.

On the other hand, if the workforce for this investment is provided with the necessary incentives it becomes a problem for the rest of the Cuban economy drawing employees from the sectors that are not incentivized just as it happened with tourism.

Palos porque bobes y palos porque no bobes!

Sectoral approaches are inefficient and insufficient!

Rationing must end and purchasing power must be returned to the Cuban national currency before balanced and steady economic growth can be achieved in the island!