Cuba Follows Fidel, Cuts Ethanol Plans

Fidel Castro still wields a strong influence on Cuban strategy, including the country’s ethanol production plans, according to a Reuters news service report.

"Following denunciations of the use of food for fuel by former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, a Cuban official said on Wednesday (Aug. 6) the Caribbean island is modernizing its sugar industry but that plans to increase ethanol production have been scaled back," Reuters reports.

Luis Galvez, director of the sugar ministry’s Sugar Cane Derivatives Research Institute, said as sugar output increases, so will derivatives, but in no case at the expense of food. “We are modernizing the sugar industry but in no moment are we going to compete with food,” Galvez said in a news conference, according to Reuters.

Galvez, who announced plans for a derivatives conference in October, refused even to use the word ethanol, stating plans for “alcohol” were reduced due to the market, land use, and the country’s strategy. “We are producing around 100 million liters and with modernization we are going to double production,” he said of the derivative which is used in rum, medicines, cosmetics and as fuel additive, Rueters reports.

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