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Guavas, coconuts and corruption, oh my!

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We harvested another 293 cases (approximately 136 quintales -) and returned to the collection center to deliver them. Upon arrival, we were informed to stop the harvest as they were no longer accepting the fruit. Since that time, our guavas have been rotting on the fields without arriving at their destiny.

As of the writing of this letter ( Nov. 9, 2012 ), our losses exceed 35 tons (approximately 51,000 Cuban Pesos). Our losses will be larger in November - the height of the season - and we still have fields full of ripe, ripening and green guavas in our fields.

It could be argued that we must sell the fruit on our own to the public at the local markets and the question begs to be asked: is it possible that the needs of the people have been met by the industry two months ahead of time when it fulfilled its quota? Is this efficient planning?

How much pulp, marmalade, jam, deserts could be produced with the guavas we have lost?"

Signed: S. Díaz Herna'ndez

[The letter can be read here .]

The second letter references and/or is in reply to the first, and was titled, "Le zumba la guayaba, pero tambie'n el coco!" (Unbelievable, guavas and coconuts too!) and reads:

"We recently read in Granma a letter written by a farmer recounting his odyssey with Acopio and the loss of his guava harvest. And we can't help but wonder how many more farmers -- who never thought of going to the media with their stories - have had the same experience.

It's hard to believe that our workplace "La Flora" - which specializes in baking breads and pastries for public consumption - recently had to stop the production of at least 6 different types of baked goods because we didn't have the main ingredients they're made with: guava marmalade. And when it comes to coconut, the situation is even worse. We haven't had coconut filling since last May which has caused the production line for those related goods to be shot down. Are there guavas and coconuts in Cuba? Who would dare ask that?

What we do dare to say is that we must correct a number of things, including the following:

First, we must overcome our dominant "neocolonial' mentality that dictates that everything that comes from abroad is better or safer or both.

Second, we can't plan our national production -- as many Cubans rightly or wrongly criticize -- with the hopes of negotiating contracts with other countries, thus, compromising our production capability and our national services. Those who criticize these actions are right when they point out that the integrity of those who run the economy based on these uncertain plans must be questioned.

The production of guavas, coconuts and every other product or service must be planned ahead of time as they require different phases of assurance and must meet a demand. What is required in January cannot arrive in Oktember (sic). Difficulties with the economy abound and we cannot blame all our problems on imperialism. It remains to be seen whether we can demand that certain verbs be conjugated in all its possible variations in Spanish, Russian and English.

In 1996, Comrade Raúl Castro told us -- referring to marketing, technology and planning, that "we can't have either improvisation or voluntarism, in the same way that it can't apply to anything else."

The verb "to demand" must be conjugated in Spanish and in every language and dialect around the world.

Cubans must learn that anyone who acts in a negligent manner (aside from those who act with malice) wastes, damages, destroys and renders resources useless is taking money from our pocket. The pockets of the state and the government are our own pockets and not the pockets of the capitalists. It doesn't matter how many different forms of ownership there are in our country, we continue to be a Socialist state. If we understand that, we have an obligation, each of us, to do our part."

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