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Colombia pursues sweet dream of becoming a sugar-cane ethanol powerhouse

CAUCA VALLEY, Colombia -- Laborers swing sickles and machetes under a punishing equatorial sun to harvest sugar cane in the narrow flatlands along the Cauca River. Though 85 percent of Colombia's cane crop is harvested this old-fashioned way, industry leaders say they have no intention of mechanizing the harvest, for fear of mass unemployment in a rural area where people suffered during Colombia's five-decade-long civil war. Instead, sugar cane growers say they are modernizing in a different way, becoming generators of renewable energy.

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