The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-A free Cuba equals cheaper corn, fuel

By David Boyd/reporter

At the U.N. General Assembly last week, top stories centered on new sanctions against Myanmar, but lost in the shuffle was a revelation about future policy regarding a neighboring country.

Not Mexico, but Cuba, the island nation 90 miles south of Florida. In a sidebar to his address to the assembly, President Bush implored the United Nations to be ready and willing to help the Cuban government transform into a democracy after the death of dictator Fidel Castro.

“ In Cuba, the long rule of a cruel dictator is nearing its end,” Bush said. “The Cuban people are ready for their freedom. And as that nation enters a period of transition, the United Nations must insist on free speech, free assembly and, ultimately, free and competitive elections.”

The quote, taken from Associated Press reports, illustrates the continued belief that Castro’s reign will end soon. Long rumored to be ill, Castro, now 81, actually ceded presidential responsibilities to his brother Raul when he began treatment for intestinal illnesses in 2006.

As vice president, Raul Castro stands in line to assume power when Fidel dies. Raul, 76, is not viewed as a powerful, dynamic leader, and many speculate he could not control Cuba in the aftermath of his brother’s death. This would present an opportunity for the U.S., with or without U.N. assistance, to support revolutionaries in a march to democracy and the formation of a new U.S.-friendly government.

The U.S. is often accused of doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Right or wrong, many agree the U.S. only intercedes when it can benefit from the situation. In the case of Cuba, everyone but the current regime would benefit. Aside from opening its untouched shores to a lucrative tourism market, the Cuban economy would experience tremendous growth from renewing relations with the U.S. and other nations affected by the current trade restrictions.

Still widely known for its tobacco crops, Cuban soil has advantages in several agricultural areas. The fertile island soil and tropical climate combine to give Cuba an unmatched ability to grow cheap, high quality sugar. Cuban sugar, not cigars, has the power to rejuvenate the Cuban economy and help the U.S. with its fuel shortage problem.

As environmentalist groups steer energy innovation into alternative fuels, the price of corn rises to meet ethanol demands. The prices of corn products, from tortillas to corn syrup, also rise.

If the U.S. could trade freely with a democratized Cuba, we could buy cheap Cuban sugar. Then instead of sweetening our food and drinks, corn could fuel our cars. One could argue helping topple and rebuild Cuba is better for Cubans, better for Americans and better for the environment.

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