Ranchers held responsible for the theft and slaughter of 3,480 heads of cattle in Las Tunas 

Ranchers held responsible for the theft and slaughter of 3,480 heads of cattle in Las Tunas 

HAVANA, May 29  Government and Party authorities in Las Tunas blamed ranchers for the high incidence of theft and slaughter of cows and horses.According to the official newspaper Periódico26, these crimes place the province as the province with the greatest decrease in the number of cattle in the entire country.

As reported in a plenary session on the topic, chaired by the first secretary of the Party in the territory, Walter Simón Noris, and the governor, Jaime Chiang Vega, in different productive forms, 1,954 criminal acts were reported during the first quarter of 2024 ( about 16 daily), with the highest incidence in Jobabo, Majibacoa and Las Tunas.

Police authorities said that in 341 units of the agricultural sector, thefts of large livestock, thefts and sacrifices, robberies with force and illegal sacrifices occurred, typical cases that respond to numerous causes and that involved 3,480 heads of cattle and horses.

According to the official report, in the investigative processes carried out by the Ministry of the Interior after the complaints “negligence of animal owners in the private and state sectors was detected; among them, the lack of hunters during daylight hours, areas full of weeds and the landless tenants”.

“The lack of security and protection, both in the pens and in the pastures, is one of the conditions present in most of the incidents, since there are many perimeter fences in poor condition and, not having food, the cattle leave their usual spaces,” added Periódico26, which omitted to mention the precarious conditions in which the ranchers carry out their work, gripped by the policies of the State and also by the inability of the Government to offer them the material resources for the development of their activities.

Simón Noris urged the presidents of Las Tunas cooperatives to “extreme peasant vigilance to stop once and for all the occurrence of these crimes that place Las Tunas as the territory with the highest incidence of this phenomenon in Cuba.”

He also ordered the staff and directors of the Delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP, controlled by MINAG) to “get more involved with the problem, visit and exchange with the producers, evaluate their conditions for the care of the flocks and act accordingly, as established by the different legal bodies.

The first secretary of the Party in Las Tunas said that “there are already experiences to reduce the theft and/or sacrifice of larger livestock,” but that “the main responsibility lies with the producers, in charge of guaranteeing water, food and the safety of animals, as well as to quickly report any incident.

In the words of the official, “The integration of all factors is essential to control these crimes, which have a direct impact on the socioeconomic development of the territory and lead to non-compliance with the delivery plans for milk and beef to the industries.”

The interference of the State in the management of ranchers, as happens with farmers, closes off any possibility of acting autonomously. They must take care of the cattle and crops, often at risk to their lives due to the aggressiveness of those who steal the livestock.

In 2023, several farmers reported an increase in livestock theft and slaughter in the country.

They also criticized that the Police required several witnesses to the events to arrest the alleged thieves, even if they had been caught red-handed. This police practice has given criminals a certain impunity.

As demonstrated in an analysis in September 2023, Cuban ranchers are controlled and unprotected and have been turned into criminals.

No meat producer in Cuba owns his animals. This is demonstrated by the fact that they need authorization from the State to make sales or sacrifices. Added to this is that they often suffer from the delay in payments that state companies must assume.

In April of this year, even the official newspaper Granma acknowledged that in Cuba “livestock areas have been destroyed” and with them the once flourishing industry. Livestock farming in Cuba “is bad because we have been allowing it to be destroyed for many years,” said farmer Miguel Valdés Carmenate in an interview with the newspaper.

“The livestock areas have been destroyed; we cannot reach the livestock with all the medicines, the mineral salts that help the metabolism of the cows. The blockade has existed all our lives, and I am not telling you that it has not affected, but with the blockade and there was all livestock in this country,” said Valdés Carmenate.