Drought or irresponsibility? / Fernando Damaso
Posted on April 28, 2014
For several days now the national TV has been reporting on the effects
of the drought in the eastern provinces, noting the deaths of thousands
of cattle and the weakening of many thousands more. In the municipality
of Calixto García in Holguín Province alone, over three thousand cattle
have already died and thousands of others, according to the images
shown, were only skin and bones, due to their emaciated condition,
harbinger of the worst.
The drought is every year, from November to April. Maybe in the last
years, due to climate change, it has worsened. The farmer always used
forecasts to avoid or mitigate its effects.
Fifty years ago our ranchers also faced it and, given that they were
cattle owners, they took every possible measure to ensure they were fed,
with the silage in the silos saved from tender green grass cut in the
spring, to which they added molasses and water, or with other methods to
resolve the water problem, such as windmills used to extract ground water.
For them it was an economic and human problem, affecting both their
pocketbooks and prestige. As owners of their herds, they were primarily
responsible for them and felt and acted accordingly.
Today, the small livestock owners avoid killing their cattle despite the
drought. The problem with the cattle is that, in one way or another,
they belong to the State. As here ownership is generic and
irresponsibility is diluted between the manager, the Party organizations
and the Young Communist League (UJC), the union and so on up the ladder,
the Delegate of Agriculture and the whole administrative and political
structure that follows, the ones who pay for the inefficiency are the
poor cattle and the citizens who, for years, see no beef in their diet.
In a country where sacrificing a cow, even one you yourself own, is
considered a crime if it is not approved by the authorities, how can we
understand these mass deaths.
Is it so difficult to create reserves of food and drinking water for
when the drought comes? Why, if it is a regular annual phenomenon, which
complicates the last months of the dry season, aren’t the cattle in
danger moved to unaffected territories?
It seems that fifty-six (56) years of tripping over the same stone have
been for nothing. And then, thundering, they would have us believe that
socialism can be prosperous and sustainable.
25 April 2014
Source: Drought or irresponsibility? / Fernando Damaso | Translating