Learning from History: Cuba’s Campaign Against Hunger

“Famines are not caused by lack of food, but lack of rights”

“Hunger is a many headed monster; people suffering from hunger likely suffer from a disempowering combination of racism, sexism, prolonged poverty, illiteracy, lack of health care, water, jobs, and above all, money with which to buy food.”

-Amartya Sen

cuba-map

It is a combination of ills that create famine today, and always has. When looking at the hunger problem as a multi-layered, full of smaller problems, problem, the curtains begin to shed light into the reality of our world. Jaques Diouf of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says the food problem is not caused by a shortage of food, but the lack of political will to mobilize resources to the benefit of the hungry. In Cuba during what is called the special period, when Cuba’s ally, the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba faced big problems with food shortages. Food intake was lowered by about a third, going from an average of 2,900 calories per person a day during the 1,980s to 1,863 in 1994. During this time Cuba also experienced a time of ‘the NGO explosion,’ where 3,000 young activists began foundations to help raise money from other international donors. This was a time of creative outlook when the government had to act in ways that would circumvent the number of difficulties Cuba faced in this period.

What is very interesting about the Cuban case is the fact that it so happens to coincide with drastic declines in the availability of fossil fuel energy for the machinery that helped in the mobilization and the production of food. Sound like something out of a work of fiction? Close enough to the issues that are happening today that it’s worth looking at Cuba’s solution for the problems we are facing around the world today. The following posts will look at the Cuba Garden Revolution in greater detail and the Brazilian Zero Fome, Zero Hunger campaign, to provide more examples of pioneering countries in the issue of famine.

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2 Responses to “Learning from History: Cuba’s Campaign Against Hunger”

  1. sorry, read this post after the previous…………

  2. Paige Ryan Says:

    Great website! Very useful! Thank you so much!

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