The First Rung? / Fernando Dámaso


In an article published about central Uruguay (before Jatibonico, Cuba) it states that: despite its backward technology, occupies the first rung on the country’s sugar contest. I do not understand what it means to occupy the first rung, as the journalist does not explain, leaving in limbo the interpretation of it.

However, it is important to look at some of the data provided in the material: in the 1990-91 harvest, which was the highest, they produced 235,012 tons of sugar, and in the current harvest 2011-2012, they aim to produce 64,800 tons in 85 days of work (by simple mathematical calculation, that amounts to less than a third of the above); previously there were 40,000 hectares planted and now there are only 23,235 (a little more than half of the earlier figure).

There are problems with the mills and the dump trucks, as well as with the bearings, hubs and high voltage motors. In the next five years they aim to reach 110,000 tons per season (half of those produced in 1990-91) and 850,000 tons accumulated in total. It is not understood how, with these figures (some real and some virtual), the plant occupies the first rung on the country’s sugar contest.

As with any respected article, that attempts to be posted here, they have to write about the bright future, the reporter repeats the arguments of the central administrative and technical leaders: it will play an important role in the investment process to create irrigated areas, as well as the incorporation of new machines and improvement in quality of the soil preparation.

It continues with more of the same, repeated over the past fifty years, and concludes with important information: the average salary is one thousand pesos (around $ 40) per month on the farm, and 1,400 pesos (about 60 dollars) in the industrial part (during the three months of harvest: 85 days. What about the other nine months?).

After reading the article, and trying to decipher what the journalist wants to introduce, I’m even more confused than before reading: Is central Uruguay a positive or negative example? If this is the best or one of the best, in what state is the rest? Are they so bad you can only write about the lesser evil? Is this the well-known case of “in the land of the blind a one-eyed man is king”?

April 2 2012