News and Facts about Cuba

Children Without Milk

Children Without Milk / 14ymedio, Boris Gonzalez
Posted on October 7, 2015

14ymedio, Boris Gonazales, 7 October 2015 – My son will be seven years
old this Thursday, October 8. For decades, seven has been the age chosen
by Fidel Alejandro Castro and maintained by his brother Raul Modesto for
Cubans to stop drinking milk.

Every ten days a Cuban child under age 7 receives 2.2 pounds of powdered
milk for the price of 2.50 in Cuban pesos, about 10 cents in US dollars.
The minimum Cuban wage is around $10 a month, and the average is about
$18 a month, and however prices are adjusted for markets around the
world, you can see it would be impossible for a Cuban worker. In
and Brazil it is possible to buy a quart of milk for the equivalent of
$0.70 on the US dollar, but such a figure approaches a day’s wages for a
Cuban teacher.

Outside this milk quota received by my son, which he shares with his
older sister, Cubans who want to drink milk or give it to their children
or parents, have to buy it in the market in dollars. But there the price
of milk far exceeds what is charged for children under seven, and also
exceeds what it costs in most markets in the world. More than four times
what it costs abroad, and a quarter of the Cuban minimum monthly wage.
The milk sold at such a price is often already expired on the shelves.
As of age seven, not even Cuban children can drink milk, nor will they
be able to do so for the rest of their lives.

The times of White Udder are past, she was a cow with a tumor and the
attention of one no less damaging than Fidel A. Castro. In the ‘80s she
broke the world record for the most milk produced in a day. They say the
comandante paid filial attention to the beast, making her into a star of
articles, documentaries, frequent visits from specialists from around
the world and, according to a computer engineer who emigrated, it was an
honor in those years to be invited by Fidel A. Castro to toast with a
glass of milk from those diseased udders.

It is known that the comandante’s passions were, for decades, objects of
national worship. The Yankees were hated until last 17 December, Celia
Sanchez was the truest flower, PPG – a pill to regulate cholesterol –
came to rub shoulders with the rest of the national symbols, and five
spies charged with involvement in murder were made into heroes.

Aside from delirium, to exalt the Cuban dairy industry was a propaganda
move. The Revolution had triumphed, among other things, to bring a glass
of milk to every child and one cow was enough to meet this ambitious
goal, according to the logic offered by the Party leader. If we consider
that the Communist organization emphasized greed more than bringing
together members who believed in the supposed aims of the Revolution, we
can understand why this particular heroine is stuffed in a livestock
research institute like Lenin in his mausoleum.

There is a clear difference between wanting a good and desiring to be
the one who appears good. This goal explains a great deal of Castroism.
While supporting a costly and unproductive livestock industry with
Soviet subsidies and providing every child and more than a few adults
with a glass of milk, Fidel A. Castro appeared on an ongoing basis as a
kind of godfather to the industry. Hence his strutting about with White
Udder and his delirious references to her in his interminable official

Our entire cattle industry collapsed at the beginning of the nineties,
the age of children eligible for subsidized milk was cynically reduced
to six years, fresh milk was no longer distributed, and Fidel A. Castro
never again appeared at any site related to the subject.

If a glass of milk for every child had really been of interest to the
Castro regime, they would have long ago relaxed the state monopoly over
cows, and reduced the sentences of those who go looking in the
black market to compensate for its lack. None of this has happened and
our children, my son among them, wake up without milk on the day they
turn seven.

Source: Children Without Milk / 14ymedio, Boris Gonzalez | Translating
Cuba –

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