by FRANCES MARTEL24 Dec 2020
A government television broadcast in Cuba this week urged citizens to eat guinea pig and other rodents, suggesting rodent meat is more nutritious and “sustainable” than pork or beef, Cuban outlets reported on Wednesday.
The Communist Party has presided over major food shortages in Cuba for decades, beginning almost immediately following the Cuban Revolution in 1959. In recent years, the Castro regime has blamed President Donald Trump for extensive food shortages and failed distribution of government-mandated rations. While the Trump administration has imposed significant sanctions on the regime in response to the increased frequency of human rights violations against pro-democracy dissidents in the Obama era, these sanctions have targeted elite individuals and military-linked corporations, not sources of food for the general population.
The Cuban Communist Party has systematically silenced dissidents who have exposed how Havana is directly responsible for food shortages in the country, most prominently ecologist Dr. Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, arrested after using a plot of land in Pinar del Río to prove that a competent government could significantly increase crop production. Ruiz Urquiola now says communist officials infected him with HIV on purpose while in prison.
In an alleged attempt to promote nutritious eating on Tuesday, a news broadcast on Tele Mayabeque, a Communist Party-approved network, revealed that the Castro regime had organized a meeting with chefs to design meals featuring guinea pig meat. The broadcast also encouraged Cubans to “socialize the experience of raising the guinea pig” by the entire family.
Cuban officials, the reporter explained, sought to promote the alleged health benefits of eating rodents “to incorporate this animal protein to the family table.”
“According to the experts, the average protein content [of guinea pig] is 19 percent, superior to porcine and bovine meat. Its consumption is a clear ally against anemia and malnutrition,” the reporter claimed.
To “elevate the culinary culture” around eating rodents, the report detailed, the government asked a group of Cuban chefs to design new meals around guinea pig as a core protein. One chef noted that they designed 11 dishes, but ran out of time. Ideas left on the cutting room floor included rodent meatballs and hamburgers.
“Maybe with two guinea pigs we can make six rations of meatballs so then you have another preparation that can go to homes, to restaurants,” the chef said.
Rodents, the report concluded, may represent “a sustainable way to achieve food sovereignty.”
Traditional Cuban cuisine — which survives largely in the United States, but not in Cuba — relies heavily on pork and beef as central proteins. Roasting an entire pig to feed a family, as in many Caribbean and Hispanic countries, is a tradition for Cubans who live freely on Christmas Eve. Dishes like ropa vieja (“old clothes,” pulled beef in tomato sauce) and ham croquettes are central to Cuban tradition.
In Cuba itself, many of these dishes have become a memory. Eating pests began replacing traditional dishes in the 1960s. For decades, Cubans used jutía, a rodent native to the Caribbean, to supplement meals, along with turtle, cat, and other meats not typically sold for consumption. The practice peaked in the 1990s, known as the “Special Period,” following the collapse of the Soviet Union. (Click to Source)