Short-cycle crops

The illusory solutions that were once called, the “Ten Million Ton Harvest,” the “Havana Cordon,” or  the “Food Plan,” have been transformed today into other utopias such as the Energy Revolution, Managerial Development, Oil in the Gulf Waters, or Exporting Human Capital.  They all encompass the same infantile delusion of wanting to cure the crumbling health of the Cuban economy with a single medicine.

I remember a lot of these failed chimeras, but it was the elimination of famine through the cultivation of microjet bananas that I experienced with special intensity.  I was in pre-university at a camp called the People’s Republic of Romania, even though by 1991 Ceausescu and Elena had already been executed.   I was working in the surrounding banana fields, which also served us as a love motel, as well as a cleaner alternative to the toilets in the dorm.  In the furrows, thousands of small hoses—these were the microjets—sprayed water all the time.  The plants yielded a few enormous and tasteless fruits which split their skins because of the disproportionate growth of the interior.  On our plates, these watery delicacies could not satisfy our hunger, any more than they could lift the country out of its crisis.

After the hurricanes, a new mirage has appeared in the style of the wet bananas of my adolescence.  They call it by the euphemism of “short-cycle crops” and propose to prioritize the planting of chives, garlic and Swiss chard over other crops that need more time and care.  With this agricultural strategy they intend to quickly fill the barren food stalls in the markets and calm the irritated Cuban people.  All the mouths that would prefer to bite down upon a yucca rather than an oregano leaf will have to make do with these fruits of immediacy.

I fear that this temporary measure will become permanent and the capricious pineapple, which needs months between planting and eating, will be replaced with three cycles of Chinese cabbage.  Forgive my lack of confidence but, given the ample record of agricultural and economic disasters, I cannot trust that this time they’ll hit the nail on the head.

Translator’s notes:

Ten Million Ton Harvest: In 1970 Cuban focused the resources of the entire country on harvesting a record 10 million tons of sugar cane, a goal which was not met. 

Havana Cordon: A plan begun in the late 1960s to plant coffee trees in a cordon around Havana and to grow coffee as an export crop.  Coffee did not grow well in the Havana environment.

Food Plan: A plan to achieve self-sufficiency in food production launched during the “Special Period” in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of its support for Cuba.   The plan was not achieved.

Googling these terms will yield much more detailed information.


  1. Cuba has any number of problems, as anyone who’s followed the country knows quite well.
    But you seem to focus approximately 100% of what you write on negativity, nothing else.

    Have you ANYTHING positive to say about ANYTHING which the Cuban government does?

    Having read your materials attentively for some time, all I see is whining and complaining.

    Why did you bother to return to Cuba if that’s all you find any interest in doing there?

    Cubans love to complain, especially to foreigners who’ve been encouraged to expect nothing else. So what makes your complaining any different from anyone else’s?

  2. Walter hit the nail.

    So many people complain about the cuban government, however they have faired a lot better that many of the sufferers in African Nations and have no better living conditions than some of the US citizens.

    Reality check. Yoani, you can keep complaining becasue its your right. But please stop making people think that life is soooo much greater outside of the island. Cubans are risking their lives to come to a country where they won’t be treated equal, stand a 1% chance of accomplishing the American Dream and will most likely live in a ghetto where drugs and murder occur daily.

    I’ve been there. The government didn’t help get out, I did it myself.

    Conditions are rough everywhere. But are only ‘sweet’ for the rich and connected.

  3. Im in the US if i have 1% of chance of making the american dreams, its better than 0% chance in cuba.
    I dont think she complaints or whining too much, i think she is speaking out and loud, in a country that PCC control all the media, and say everyday that everything is fine we are “perfect” and the evil one is the USA.
    Castro control only 10millions cuban, im glad there is not 200 millions in cuba, because we all will be eating eachother thanks to the “perfect” regin of castro.
    P.S Walter u want to know the positive of cuba, ask castro to send u a newsletter everyday or read and listen to the media all control by castro, you will find a lot of positive. i been a little sarcastic. lol

  4. In the USA u can chose to work hard, or deal drugs, You can chose to study or be a bum, You can chose to be in a getto or find a nice place for less than 100k, You can chose to travel or stay home, You can chose to get welfare or work 2 jobs, You can chose to be a loser or the sky is the limit, You can chose to write ur own blog or Listening to Radio Havana Cuba, You can chose to be a cooker or run for president. These and more u can chose to do in the USA.
    I dont think is a bad place to live if u make the right choices.
    Right Walter. Sosa.?

  5. In this blog there were two comments about the censure to the internet protocols of those people who don’t agree with Yoani and her convictions. They were censured as well. This Blog is as represive as the regimen that the critizice.

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