Ethanol from sugar - A Grand Bargain for Cuban Democracy
Posted: 09 April 2007 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]
less than 10 posts
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2007-04-09

By Martin Edwin Andersen

Creative bipartisanship in Washington that ties the potential of a massive boom in ethanol’s influence throughout the Western Hemisphere to ending United States oil addiction could also help ensure that nearly five decades of Cuban dictatorship will be followed by a transition towards democracy, a market economy and real independence, and not succession by Fidel Castro’s brother Raul or another Communist figure.

Fidel Castro’s abrupt U-turn in his support for ethanol, attacking plans by the United States and Brazil to promote the production of a sugarcane-based fuel alternative in the Western Hemisphere, shows the length to which the Cuban dictator will go to protect his Venezuelan patron Hugo Chavez’s oil lubricated grab at Latin American hegemony, even at the expense of future Cuba independence.  Castro’s newest claim, that production on the island of ethanol from sugarcane—the cost-effective method, by the way, successfully used in Brazil—was ``no more than a dream or a delirium,’’ is nothing if not the latest example of how his once spellbinding rhetoric is running out of gas.

In fact, President Bush’s new bio-fuels pact with Brazil, joining the world’s two largest ethanol producers in what could become a new alliance to substantially reduce regional dependence on imported oil, points to other ethanol-related policy options the United States should pursue in the region simultaneously. If implemented, these would improve the prospects for post-Fidel democracy and independence in Cuba, reduce future tensions between Cubans and Cuban Americans, and ease future relations between the U.S. and some of its other Caribbean allies.

The framework for just such a possibility already exists in the plan launched by Bush and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to promote the production of sugar cane-based ethanol in Central American and the Caribbean, selling part of the bio-fuel to the U.S. as part of a special Caribbean Basin trade regime.  By promising to include Cuba in a partnership that allows sugarcane-based ethanol equal footing in competition with a heavily subsidized corn-based ethanol industry in the United States that is both more expensive and more environmentally taxing, Castro’s claim that the U.S. focus on ethanol, resulting in the “internationalization of genocide” can be exposed from what it is—the death rattle of a tyrant.

Posted: 09 April 2007 03:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  992
Joined  2005-11-19


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