fidelcastroWith the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) set to begin its June 3-5 food summit on Tuesday at its Rome headquarters, there are those who will recall that Fidel warned years before that 35,000 people would die each day, half of them children, if the situation at the time wasn’t reversed.

Today, nearly 12 years later, the FAO estimates that there are a billion hungry people worldwide and that the current food crisis —"which will last for a decade"— will add another 100 million human beings to the list.

The most recent FAO report states that in 2008 the global expenditure for food imports will reach a trillion US dollars, 215 billion (26 percent) more than the record set in 2007.

Back at the FAO summit in 1996 Fidel said: "Hunger, the inseparable companion of the poor, is the result of the unequal distribution of wealth and of the injustices of this world. The rich do not know hunger.

"Fidel’s words ring even clearer today. The FAO says that poor countries will be the most affected by the current situation with imported foodstuffs costing four times today what they did in 2000.

And the situation —to be debated over three days— couldn’t be more dramatic: it is now estimated that the prices of cereals, rice and oil-producing grains will increase by an average of 35 to 65 percent over the coming decade.

The developed countries are responsible for this chaotic situation. The answers, as Fidel pointed out nearly 12 years ago must be more than "bandage solutions." He noted: "These goals, if only for their modesty, are shameful.

"The die is cast and the world of opulence will have to choose —and act with urgency— so that humanity can save itself.

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