And now, for the really bad news
First it was Carlos Lage, regarded as the third most important politician on the island – after the Castro brothers, of course. Then it was the powerful Minister for the Sugar Industry, General Ulises Rosales del Toro, a trusted military man now turned bureaucrat.
They all warned that the sugar harvest for 2007 may be "difficult".
Well, now we know why.
The official propaganda sheet of the regime, Granma, reveals today that this year’s sugar harvest could turn out to be the worst ever. Read that again: the worst in the island’s history.
Not that the paper puts it quite that way ...
If you believe the official figures, Cuba will be lucky to produce about half of the sugar tonnage for the previous year which in itself, was among the lowest on record at just 1.2 million tonnes.
And the reason for the shocking results?
Mismanagement? Non-existent transport infrastructure? Low wages and poor working conditions that inevitably lead to poor productivity? An economic model that quite plainly does not work? The fact that no one is allowed to point out these faults in public for fear of being branded a “mercenary” and sent to jail for 25 years?
None of the above.
According to Granma, the poor results are all due to rain. Too much rain. Truly.