Castro slams Bush fuel plan in new editorial

Convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro blasted US President George Bush's biofuel plan, charging that it could lead to a "total holocaust" in an editorial on Wednesday, saying it would worsen global hunger.

The column, published as Reflections of the Commander in Chief in the ruling Communist Party newspaper Granma, is the second in a week by Castro attacking Bush's proposals to increase the use of foodstuffs like corn for fuel to run cars.

Castro charged that Bush's policy to promote ethanol fuels from farm crops was condemning "more than three billion people" to premature starvation. "The worst could be yet to come: a new war to ensure gas and oil supplies, which could place the entire human race into a total holocaust," he wrote.

"At Camp David, Bush declared his intention to apply this formula on a world scale, which means none other than the internationalisation of genocide," wrote Castro.

Dozens of nations do not have oil and cannot produce corn or other grains to make ethanol because they lack water, he said. The surge in demand for corn will push up grain prices, while the threat of a US invasion of Iran is keeping oil prices high, Castro wrote. "Where will the poor nations of the Third World get the minimum resources to survive?" he asked.

Ethanol production topped the agenda at Bush's meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at Camp David last week. The United States and Brazil are the world's top producers of the biofuel.

It was the latest sign that the 80-year-old revolutionary who has not appeared in public since undergoing surgery eight months ago is feeling better and keeping abreast of world affairs. Unable to give speeches, the formerly verbose Castro has taken up the pen.Brazil has been making ethanol, a gasoline alternative, from sugarcane and running cars on it for three decades, but the United States became the world's biggest ethanol producer last year after Bush said the country was "addicted to oil". World corn prices rocketed.

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