Friday, March 30, 2007

Brazilian: Castro's biofuel views are `outdated'

Posted on Fri, Mar. 30, 2007

Brazilian: Castro's biofuel views are `outdated'
Associated Press

BRASILIA, Brazil --
Cuban President Fidel Castro's criticism of biofuels are respectable but
outdated because the whole world is heading in the direction of ethanol,
Brazil's foreign minister said Thursday.

Celso Amorim said that while he had not read Castro's attack on U.S.
biofuel policy in a Cuban newspaper, he felt it represented a
respectable, if behind-the-times opinion.

''President Fidel Castro is a person who is a respectable and
historically important figure,'' Amorim said.

''He has some ideas that are outdated,'' the minister added, saying that
he had accompanied a Brazilian delegation to Havana 20 years ago ''and
at that time Castro was already saying alcohol would never work because
sugar was a noble product.'' Ethanol is a form of alcohol.

Brazil produces ethanol from sugar cane, while ethanol in the United
States is made from corn.

In a front-page editorial Thursday in the Communist Party daily, Castro
described the U.S. policy of encouraging the use of biofuels as ``the
sinister idea of converting food into fuel.''

The remarks indirectly touched on Brazil because President Bush and
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva agreed earlier this month
to promote the use and production of ethanol.

Brazil is the world's second largest producer of ethanol after the
United States.

Amorim said that Castro's criticisms, ``are his opinion, we will respect
them, but I believe this opinion has to be balanced with others.''

''I personally believe that even Cuba would very much benefit from the
world ethanol market,'' Amorim said.

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