Fidel Castro and the Perfect Dairy Cow

I love the quote “the truth is stranger than fiction”. It encompasses the best stories in the world, the ones that are too bizarre, too unusual, and too rare for every day, yet can still be backed up. One of the most shocking examples comes from of all people, Fidel Castro.

It’s not well known to the modern US, but Castro had a bit of an obsession. Not just with defeating capitalism, nor with Marx… but of all things, with dairy. Yes, the dictator of Cuba was effectively the opposite of lactose intolerant. It’s been said that the man could finish 18 scoops of ice cream after lunch. To illustrate that, that’s more than twice the milk challenge from 2012… and people have died because of that.

His love of dairy was so great, that the CIA used it as their closest plot to assassinating the dictator. He even designated an entire city block to build the practical Vatican of Ice Cream.

His obsession ran deep, to say the least, but there was a bit of a problem. Cuba is not known for dairy… Cuba is known for beef. Due to the hot tropical sun, and the large complexes needed for dairy, many cows tend to get stressed out and not lactate as efficiently. Additionally, many of the cows used for milking are entirely different breeds than those used for beef. 

With this, Castro forced through bureaucracy the construction of a massive air-conditioned complex for his cows and ordered huge numbers of dairy cows to be imported from Canada. Still, the hot sun, the indoor conditions, and other factors kept the cows producing low.

In response, Castro and a team of scientists to turn to breeding the animals. While the majority of this too continued to fail, one bovine prodigy emerged. The Cubans succeeded in breeding a standard dairy cow with an Indian-native Zebu in one isolated incident to create one of the greatest milk-makers ever seen.

The cow, which became a national icon named “Ubre Blanca” (literally white utter), was thrown into the Guinness book of world records for producing a whopping 241 pounds of milk on a single day, and more than 55,000 pounds in under a year. This had utterly (–had to say it–) surpassed any known cow to date. That daily weight is more than an average American man, and the yearly is more than twice that of a school bus.

Scientists to this day have preserved her DNA to this day in the hopes of cloning the extreme milk making master. Unsurprisingly, the cow has gone on to become a national hero of sorts and is even depicted in the nation’s propaganda. The cow even has a marble statue of her in a town 45 minutes outside of Havana due to this praise.

Note that with this story, that I don’t intend to propagate or endorse any political faction. (This is just what the communists are forcing me to write.) While Castro was able to produce a near-perfect dairy cow, many other attributes of his nation suffered from his hellbent endeavor. That said, this was a story that I found shocking when I first heard it, and I thought was worth re-telling here.

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