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Puerto Rico: No Food, No Thought

By: Frank Worley-Lopez - Mar 24, 2015, 12:46 pm

During his thirty-year rule of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin took direct control of food resources, farms, and land, causing mass starvation and the deaths of nearly 7 million people in modern-day Ukraine.

The example of murderous central planning has been aped by other communist regimes worldwide with equally grim results, leading to widespread malnutrition and death in China and North Korea. Meanwhile, Cuba imports some 80 percent of its food, according to UN figures, despite purportedly being a paragon of self-sufficiency.

Puerto Rico's farms are to be the latest site of government intervention. (Pixabay)
Puerto Rico’s farms are to be the latest site of government intervention. (Pixabay)

Centralized government control over food and consumer goods is about control, not serving the interests of the people. It has one purpose: total power.

One might think that the lessons of the former Soviet Union and other failed communist states would resonate enough to preclude such madness from happening again, but those lessons have been forgotten or ignored.

Instead, Puerto Rico’s government is about to embark on a total food-control initiative dubbed the Food Security Plan for Puerto Rico. It calls for promoting local agriculture in line with the island’s Land Use plan, and helping Puerto Rico become more independent by producing more of its own food.

It sounds great. Who doesn’t want food independence? But it turns out that Puerto Rico is not the only one working on a Food Security Plan. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), mostly under the control of socialist governments, also approved a resolution on Food Security and Sustainable Development earlier this year.

Amid reams of communist doublespeak, the CELAC resolution also set the following objective:

68. Restate the Latin American and Caribbean character of Puerto Rico and take note of resolutions adopted by the UN special committee on decolonization.

In other words, CELAC supports independence for Puerto Rico.

The same resolution references the plan for food security:

17. Recognize the direct contribution of family agriculture to food security and sustainable development in the goal of creating a region free of poverty and hunger.

18. Approve the Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and the eradication of hunger…

Now the obvious question: how do these governments ensure nutrition and eradication of hunger? Will they let the market decide? If their policy in other areas is anything to go by, definitely not. Instead, they’ll set quotas and diktats and set about ruthlessly enforcing them.

How do you eradicate hunger? By going house to house and making sure people eat. How do you provide “security” for food? By taking direct control of food production and distribution.

While the Puerto Rico proposal also touts the importance of the family farmer, it too is a pathway to total control. It’s just as in the Soviet Union, when the Bolsheviks appealed to the farmers to win their support, only to starve them to death for dubious political gain when they began to question the system.

Am I suggesting that the Popular Democratic Party plans to starve Puerto Rican farmers to death? This may not be their intention. But grave problems with the food supply are inevitable if this state-led food security plan continues under independence — for independence under socialist rule is the Popular Democratic Party’s real aim.

Let’s ask an even easier question. If government control of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, Water and Sewer Authority, highways, health insurance, hospitals, Planning Board, police, prisons, schools, and many other areas has been a complete and unmitigated disaster, why will the commonwealth have any greater success in managing food resources?

The government’s record on managing public needs is abysmal. Small wonder they’re using any excuse to endorse the food security bill: for example, claiming that the cessation of Puerto Rico services by major shipping company Horizon Lines is a threat to the food supply (the small print: Horizon Lines didn’t transport food).

On the surface the food security plan for Puerto Rico looks good, feels good, and sounds good. Local media are even reporting positive growth in the food production sector as a result of the ongoing program. That’s how you sell a poisonous idea: make it taste sweet going down.

As I’ve asked readers here and on my other blog before: stop for a moment and take a look around. How are the roads? What’s the situation with crime? Do you trust your government? How are health services? How are the schools? How are the electricity and water service?

How much more power do you want the government to have over you?

Promoting local agriculture and providing food independence for the island are both ideas I support. But given the examples of history, what should we really expect if the commonwealth takes control of the food supply?

Edited by Laurie Blair.