As Castro exits, Cuba eyes biofuel future

Fidel Castro's decision to step down as ruler after 49 years may pave the way for a huge expansion in the biofuel industry in Cuba, analysts warned this week. Castro was a trenchant critic of biofuels, which he saw increasing world hunger.

Using traditional food crops grown in the developing world to meet the energy needs of rich countries, Castro said last year, could have disastrous consequences for the world’s poor.

"By offering financing to poor countries to produce ethanol from corn or any other kind of food no tree will be left to defend humanity from climate change," he added.

Now that Castro has left, experts wonder if Cuba could take the path of Brazil, which is the world’s biggest producer of ethanol. Brazil pours half its sugar crop into the fuel, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"The 1 billion gallons [of sugarcane-derived ethanol] that Brazil will export in 2007 could have been produced in [the Cuban province of] Camaguey," the report quoted economists as saying.

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