Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hunger in Havana?

Simon Carswell may be a former journalist of the year but he's got his facts very wrong on Cuba. In an otherwise competent piece on US/Cuba relations in the Irish Times last Saturday (26 September) he tells us that "children with bellies swollen from hunger play in the streets" of Havana. In two lengthy recent visits to Cuba where I travelled all around the island, steering clear of the tourist traps, I never came upon a malnourished child. On the contrary, I was repeatedly surprised at how, even in the smallest villages, you'd encounter well-nourished children turned out smartly in their school uniforms. But don't take my word for it. A World Food Programme Report in 2015 stated that: "With its comprehensive social protection programmes, Cuba has largely eradicated hunger". It's true that their diet may not be very exciting, consisting mainly of beans and rice, but nobody goes hungry. Perhaps Washington-based Mr. Carswell has been spending too much time with Republican politicians from Florida.