Fidel Attacks Biofuels—He's Got a Point


I must have been otherwise occupied this past May Day, so I missed Comrade Fidel's interesting article in Granma that condemned the conversion of corn into ethanol to run cars. Cuba's Maximum Leader asked from his hospital bed:

What will happen when hundreds of millions of tons of corn are redirected towards the production of biofuel?  And I rather not mention the amounts of wheat, millet, oats, barley, sorghum and other cereals that industrialized countries will use as a source of fuel for its engines.

Castro answered his own question in an earlier article:

More than three billion people in the world are being condemend to a premature death from hunger and thirst. It is not an exaggeration; this is rather a conservative figure. I have meditated for quite a long time on that after the meeting held by President Bush with the US automakers.

The sinister idea of turning foodstuffs into fuel was definitely established as the economic strategy of the US foreign policy….

Actually El Jefe Cubano is on to something. As I pointed out in my "Moonshine Mirage" column a year ago:

…it would take the country's entire corn crop to produce 35 billion gallons of ethanol, an amount equal to about one-fifth of the gasoline Americans currently burn each year. This would also leave no corn for food and some residues for feed. Burning food for fuel raises some interesting moral questions in world in which 800 million people are still malnourished.

Corn prices have doubled in the past 3 years and are already boosting food prices in the U.S. and tortilla prices in Mexico.