Cuba and Venezuela at Odds with U.S. on Biofuels

Castro and Chavez claim a biofuel boom would cause hunger by making food more expensive.

Published on: Apr 10, 2007

The leaders of Cuba and Venezuela are weighing in on the "food vs. fuel" debate. Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela worry that the ethanol industry's demand for sugar and corn will cause the price of food to rise, exacerbating hunger.

"When you fill a vehicle's tank with ethanol, you are filling it with energy for which land and water enough to feed seven people have been used," Chavez said, according to the Guardian. In his party's official newspaper, Castro also expressed worry that too many crops might be diverted from food to fuel and cause higher food prices and worsen hunger and poverty.

Venezuela is a major exporter of oil, and according to the Guardian it is unclear whether the country will go ahead with ethanol plant investments. Cuba has plans to build eight ethanol distilleries to export around 53 million gallons of biofuel by 2011.