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It must leave a bitter taste in Fidel Castro's mouth. For the first time anyone can remember, Cuba has to importm sugar this year. That's a huge setback for the island, which is the world's second-largest sugar-producing nation.

The 1980 harvest is the lowest since Castro came to power. In fact, it's the worst since the early 1900s.

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The reasons: bad weather, bad harvesting techniques, and crop diseases.

Most of Cuba's 6.7 million metric ton output this year is already slated to go to the Soviet Union, Morocco, Japan, and other countries. So there isn't much left for home use.That has forced Cuba to turn to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua to fill its own sugar bowls.

Look for Castro to take personal charge of the 1981 harvest.m

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