14ymedio, Madrid, 4 July 2023 — In the absence of an increase in agricultural production, and in the midst of an unprecedented shortage and inflation, more rice donated by Vietnam will arrive in Cuba. In May the Asian country sent 5,000 tons; this time it will send 2,000. The first shipment left the port of Hai Phong on June 27, and the second will do so this Wednesday.
Although the rice will not arrive until September at the port of Mariel, both parties staged on Tuesday a “symbolic delivery” in the city of Hanoi, as reported by the official Cuban press.
The donation, says Cubadebate, is a “gift from the Party, Government and people of Vietnam to the Party, Government and people of Cuba to support the work of guaranteeing social security.”
Cuban and Vietnamese officials have mobilized, according to the text, to “verify and strictly control the quality of the rice” exported. Complaints from the citizens of the Island are frequent about the Asian variety. They describe it as “muddy” and “bad-smelling,” compared to the rice imported from Uruguay.
At the event, the deputy director of the Department of Finance of Hanoi, Mai Cong Quyen, said that “they always follow closely the socioeconomic situation of Cuba,” especially “food security.”
Rice, the staple food on Cuban tables, is one of the products whose price has skyrocketed the most, reaching 250 pesos per pound in some markets.
At a Trade and Investment Promotion Forum held last May in Ho Chi Minh City, both countries expressed that “they still have many areas in which to promote trade and investment cooperation, especially in the fields of agriculture and food processing.”
The vice president of the Municipal People’s Committee Duong Anh Duc said at the time that Vietnam and Cuba “although they are geographically distant, have similarities in the process of national construction and defense, aspirations and revolutionary ideals.”
On that occasion, the Cuban Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Maury Hechavarría, said that the Island “wants to strengthen collaboration with Vietnam” in areas where this country has “strengths,” such as rice and coffee production, as well as “coordinate in the diversification of machinery for agricultural production.”
None of the parties mentions, however, the joint project of La Sierpe, in Sancti Spíritus, abandoned in the middle of last year by the Vietnamese due to the lack of compliance of the Cubans.
In any case, both nations continue to sign collaboration agreements, as happened in April, when they signed four cooperation agreements on civil aviation, electricity, oil and construction. “Today Vietnam has become our second trading partner and the main capital investor in the Asian region,” said the Deputy Prime Minister of Cuba, Ricardo Cabrisas.
Just a few days ago, two pro-government economists rightly put Vietnam, along with China, as an example of “socialism that prospers.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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