Difference between revisions of "Republic of Cuba"

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{{quote|When Cuba’s revolution came to power in 1959, its model of development aimed to link economic growth with advances in social justice. From the start, transforming economic changes were accompanied by equally transforming social initiatives. For example, in 1959, Cuba carried out a profound agrarian reform which ended ''latifundia'' [land estate system] in the island and distributed land to thousands of formerly landless small farmers.|Oxfam America|[https://web.archive.org/web/20090303221405/http://www.oxfamamerica.org/newsandpublications/publications/research_reports/art3670.html/OA-Cuba_Social_Policy_at_Crossroads-en.pdf]}}
 
{{quote|When Cuba’s revolution came to power in 1959, its model of development aimed to link economic growth with advances in social justice. From the start, transforming economic changes were accompanied by equally transforming social initiatives. For example, in 1959, Cuba carried out a profound agrarian reform which ended ''latifundia'' [land estate system] in the island and distributed land to thousands of formerly landless small farmers.|Oxfam America|[https://web.archive.org/web/20090303221405/http://www.oxfamamerica.org/newsandpublications/publications/research_reports/art3670.html/OA-Cuba_Social_Policy_at_Crossroads-en.pdf]}}
  
The Republic of Cuba is a [[planned economy]], but it did reintroduce some liberal reforms in the 1990s. Nevertheless, today they have a body of elected delegates who direct the economy away from the established framework and into one that successfully allows for workers’ self-management.<ref>{{safesubst:cite web|last=Reid|first=Stuart|title=Cooperatives in Cuba|url=https://www.grocer.coop/node/7763|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20200101005559/https://www.grocer.coop/node/7763|archivedate=2020-01-01}}</ref> <ref>{{safesubst:cite web|last=Wolfe|first=Jonathan|title=Cooperatives in Cuba|url=https://www.pri.org/node/72415|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20150227161445/http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-02-25/cuban-cooperatives-present-new-economic-model|archivedate=2015-02-27}}</ref> Despite economic pressure, the Republic of Cuba has largely succeeded in providing a decent quality of life for its people. The unemployment rate remains below 3%, as it has for decades.<ref>http://data.un.org/en/iso/cu.html</ref>
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The Republic of Cuba is a [[planned economy]], but it did reintroduce some liberal reforms in the 1990s. Nevertheless, today they have a body of elected delegates who direct the economy away from the established framework and into one that successfully allows for workers’ self-management.<ref>{{safesubst:cite web|last=Reid|first=Stuart|title=Cooperatives in Cuba|url=https://www.grocer.coop/node/7763|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20200101005559/https://www.grocer.coop/node/7763|archivedate=2020-01-01}}</ref> <ref>{{safesubst:cite web|last=Wolfe|first=Jonathan|title=Cooperatives in Cuba|url=https://www.pri.org/node/72415|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20150227161445/http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-02-25/cuban-cooperatives-present-new-economic-model|archivedate=2015-02-27}}</ref> With over five thousand in existence, the cooperatives have already achieved a prominent rôle in the planned economy over the last decade and are likely to develop further in the previsible future.<ref>{{safesubst:cite web|last=Pineiro|first=Camila|title=All Things Co-op: Cuba Cooperatives
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|url=https://www.democracyatwork.info/atc_cuba_cooperatives|date=2019-12-17|accessdate=2020-01-15}}</ref> Despite economic pressure, the Republic of Cuba has largely succeeded in providing a decent quality of life for its people. The unemployment rate remains below 3%, as it has for decades.<ref>http://data.un.org/en/iso/cu.html</ref>
  
All citizens are legally entitled to food.<ref>https://invidio.us/embed/JSEIKHcYtQU</ref> It is currently a world leader in organic farming,<ref>https://www.projectcensored.org/?p=354</ref> <ref>https://www.projectcensored.org/?p=5636</ref> and Havana in particular has a good deal of food providers.<ref>https://invidio.us/embed/YoCYIRUXE3A</ref> Nevertheless, the World Food Program has claimed that 70–80% of its domestic food requirements derive from imports, with most slated for social protection programmes.<ref name=WFP>https://www.wfp.org/node/111</ref> Data from the World Health Organization indicate that as of 2017 they have a malnutrition rate of less than 2.00.<ref>https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/malnutrition/by-country</ref> <ref>https://ourworldindata.org/causes-of-death#malnutrition</ref> The FAO concluded that the Republic of Cuba’s ‘remarkably low percentages of child malnutrition put [them] at the forefront of developing countries’<ref>http://www.fao.org/ag/agn/nutrition/cub_en.stm</ref> and World Food Program USA has likewise concluded that over the last five decades, their ‘comprehensive social protection programs’ have ‘largely eliminated hunger and poverty.’<ref name=WFP/> <ref>https://www.wfpusa.org/countries/cuba/#</ref> As of 2018 the Global Hunger Index has rated the Republic of Cuba as ‘low’ on their index.<ref>https://www.globalhungerindex.org/results/</ref> According to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture, the average Cuban consumes approximately 3300 calories per day, far above the Latin American and Caribbean average, and only slightly lower than in the United States. Approximately two thirds of nutritional needs are met by monthly food rations, while the rest is bought independently. The report also states:
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All citizens are legally entitled to food.<ref>https://invidio.us/embed/JSEIKHcYtQU</ref> It is currently a world leader in organic farming,<ref>{{safesubst:cite web|title=Cuba Leads the World in Organic Farming|url=https://www.projectcensored.org/?p=354|year=2001|accessdate=2020-01-15}}</ref> <ref>{{safesubst:cite web|last=Ruxton|first=Caitlin|editor=Chip McAuley|title=Cuba Years Ahead in Eat Local Movement|url=https://www.projectcensored.org/?p=5636|date=2009-10-22|accessdate=2020-01-15}}</ref> and Havana in particular has a good deal of food providers.<ref>https://invidio.us/embed/YoCYIRUXE3A</ref> Nevertheless, the World Food Program has claimed that 70–80% of its domestic food requirements derive from imports, with most slated for social protection programmes.<ref name=WFP>https://www.wfp.org/node/111</ref> Data from the World Health Organization indicate that as of 2017 they have a malnutrition rate of less than 2.00.<ref>https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/malnutrition/by-country</ref> <ref>https://ourworldindata.org/causes-of-death#malnutrition</ref> The FAO concluded that the Republic of Cuba’s ‘remarkably low percentages of child malnutrition put [them] at the forefront of developing countries’<ref>http://www.fao.org/ag/agn/nutrition/cub_en.stm</ref> and World Food Program USA has likewise concluded that over the last five decades, their ‘comprehensive social protection programs’ have ‘largely eliminated hunger and poverty.’<ref name=WFP/> <ref>https://www.wfpusa.org/countries/cuba/#</ref> As of 2018 the Global Hunger Index has rated the Republic of Cuba as ‘low’ on their index.<ref>https://www.globalhungerindex.org/results/</ref> According to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture, the average Cuban consumes approximately 3300 calories per day, far above the Latin American and Caribbean average, and only slightly lower than in the United States. Approximately two thirds of nutritional needs are met by monthly food rations, while the rest is bought independently. The report also states:
  
 
{{quote|The Cuban economy has made remarkable progress toward recovery from the economic disaster generated by the collapse of the Soviet Bloc.|USDA|[https://web.archive.org/web/20131105150934/http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/cuba/CubaSituation0308.pdf]}}
 
{{quote|The Cuban economy has made remarkable progress toward recovery from the economic disaster generated by the collapse of the Soviet Bloc.|USDA|[https://web.archive.org/web/20131105150934/http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/cuba/CubaSituation0308.pdf]}}
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The republic’s demand for electricity has been growing as a result of new economic reform, but production has remained stagnant, causing occasional blackouts and other deficiencies. Consequently they have taken measures to reduce the amount of electricity that the government consumes so that the private sector can remain safe from blackouts or other deficiencies.<ref>https://www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis.php?iso=CUB</ref>
 
The republic’s demand for electricity has been growing as a result of new economic reform, but production has remained stagnant, causing occasional blackouts and other deficiencies. Consequently they have taken measures to reduce the amount of electricity that the government consumes so that the private sector can remain safe from blackouts or other deficiencies.<ref>https://www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis.php?iso=CUB</ref>
  
The Republic of Cuba’s successful models of sustainable development — in areas of food, housing and health — have been widely replicated throughout Latin America.<ref>https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/cubas-green-revolution-—-achieving-sustainability</ref> The Global Footprint Network has evaluated them as being ecologically sustainable (in contrast to the U.S.A.),<ref>https://i.redd.it/trygb2yptn721.jpg</ref> in fact it is only country in the world that meets WWF conditions of sustainable development, for both the Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint.<ref>{{safesubst:cite journal|last1=José Cabello|first1=Juan|last2=Garcia|first2=Dunia|last3=Sagastume|first3=Alexis|last4=Priego|first4=Rosario|last5=Hens|first5=Luc|last6=Vandecasteele|first6=Carlo
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The Republic of Cuba’s successful models of sustainable development — in areas of food, housing and health — have been widely replicated throughout Latin America.<ref>{{safesubst:cite web|last=Yaffe|first=Helen|title=Cuba's green revolution — achieving sustainability|url=https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/cubas-green-revolution-—-achieving-sustainability|issue=830|date=2010-03-13|accessdate=2020-01-15}}</ref> The Global Footprint Network has evaluated them as being ecologically sustainable (in contrast to the U.S.A.),<ref>https://i.redd.it/trygb2yptn721.jpg</ref> in fact it is only country in the world that meets WWF conditions of sustainable development, for both the Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint.<ref>{{safesubst:cite journal|last1=José Cabello|first1=Juan|last2=Garcia|first2=Dunia|last3=Sagastume|first3=Alexis|last4=Priego|first4=Rosario|last5=Hens|first5=Luc|last6=Vandecasteele|first6=Carlo
|title=An approach to sustainable development: the case of Cuba|journal=Environment, Development and Sustainability|volume=14|publisher=Springer Netherlands|issue=4|url=https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10668-012-9338-8|date=2012-02-19|pages=573–591|doi=10.1007/s10668-012-9338-8|ISSN=1573-2975}}</ref> <ref>{{safesubst:cite journal|last=Hickel|first=Jason|title=The sustainable development index: Measuring the ecological efficiency of human development in the anthropocene|journal=Ecological Economics|volume=167|date=2020-01-01|url=https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800919303386|doi=10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.05.011}}</ref> <ref>{{safesubst:cite web|last=Christine|first=Ro|title=Every Country Is Developing, According To The New Sustainable Development Index|url=https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinero/2019/12/01/every-country-is-developing-according-to-the-new-sustainable-development-index|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20191202013719/https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinero/2019/12/01/every-country-is-developing-according-to-the-new-sustainable-development-index|archivedate=2019-12-02}}</ref> They have 30.6% forest coverage due to their reforestation programme<ref>https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Cuba-has-30.6-Forest-Coverage-Due-to-ReforestationProgram-20160825-0003.html</ref> for example, and the ''Guardian'' has stated:
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|title=An approach to sustainable development: the case of Cuba|journal=Environment, Development and Sustainability|volume=14|publisher=Springer Netherlands|issue=4|url=https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10668-012-9338-8|date=2012-02-19|pages=573–591|doi=10.1007/s10668-012-9338-8|ISSN=1573-2975}}</ref> <ref>{{safesubst:cite journal|last=Hickel|first=Jason|title=The sustainable development index: Measuring the ecological efficiency of human development in the anthropocene|journal=Ecological Economics|volume=167|date=2020-01-01|url=https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800919303386|doi=10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.05.011}}</ref> <ref>{{safesubst:cite web|last=Christine|first=Ro|title=Every Country Is Developing, According To The New Sustainable Development Index|url=https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinero/2019/12/01/every-country-is-developing-according-to-the-new-sustainable-development-index|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20191202013719/https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinero/2019/12/01/every-country-is-developing-according-to-the-new-sustainable-development-index|archivedate=2019-12-02}}</ref> They have 30.6% forest coverage due to their reforestation programme<ref>{{safesubst:cite web|title=Cuba has 30.6% Forest Coverage Due to Reforestation Program|url=https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Cuba-has-30.6-Forest-Coverage-Due-to-ReforestationProgram-20160825-0003.html|date=2016-08-25|accessdate=2020-01-15}}</ref> for example, and the ''Guardian'' has stated:
  
 
{{quote|[T]he evidence suggests that Cuba has made excellent progress towards the MDGs in the last decade, building on what are already universally acknowledged to be outstanding achievements in equitable health and education standards. According to a new MDG Report Card by the Overseas Development Institute, Cuba is among the 20 best performing countries in the world.|Jonathan Glennie|[https://amp.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2010/sep/30/millennium-development-goals-cuba]}}
 
{{quote|[T]he evidence suggests that Cuba has made excellent progress towards the MDGs in the last decade, building on what are already universally acknowledged to be outstanding achievements in equitable health and education standards. According to a new MDG Report Card by the Overseas Development Institute, Cuba is among the 20 best performing countries in the world.|Jonathan Glennie|[https://amp.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2010/sep/30/millennium-development-goals-cuba]}}

Revision as of 01:26, 16 January 2020

The Republic of Cuba (abbreviated ROC) is a people’s republic in the Caribbean. They have withstood the longest blockade in all history.[1]

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated in April 11, 2000 that the Republic of ‘Cuba’s achievements in social development are impressive given the size of its gross domestic product per capita. As the human development index of the United Nations makes clear year after year, Cuba should be the envy of many other nations, ostensibly far richer. [The Republic of Cuba] demonstrates how much nations can do with the resources they have if they focus on the right priorities — health, education, and literacy.’

History

Cuba was colonized by the Spaniards during the nineteenth century, and its prime exports were coffee, sugar, and tobacco. The Spanish aristocracy imported a great deal of African slaves for this colony. Political tendencies such as national independence and other (mild) reformisms became popular, but none was indigenous. Around 1850 the colony received an influx of lower-class Spanish immigrants, but even they were treated poorly by the aristocracy: sixteen or eighteen hour workdays, seven days weekly, were common, and work conditions in for example the tobacco industry were rife with poor pay, monotony, and health hazards. Mutualism grew in popularity, and Cuban workers held their first strike in 1865. By the 1880s, the profusion of libertarian socialist propaganda in the form of pamphlets and newspapers that arrived regularly and clandestinely from Barcelona reinforced the transmission of socialist ideas. As a result a new wave of Cuban workers proceeded to involve themselves in the Alianza Revolucionaria Socialista (ARS). Anarchists organized all of the strikes that shook the Cuban tobacco industry at the end of the decade. Socialists were widely divided on the importance of either obtaining independence from Iberia or concentrating on assisting other workers. Finally in the late 1890s the American ruling class successfully intimidated the Spanish aristocracy into transferring their colonies over to them, including Cuba.[2]

Cold War era

Before the Cuban Revolution, the neocolony was rife not only with poor working conditions but also gambling, drugs, unwilling sex work, and political corruption. It was a popular tourist resort for the white bourgeoisie.[3] In July 1953 a crew of revolutionaries, including Fidel Castro, assaulted Fort Moncada, but the move failed. Nonetheless, the Cuban lower classes were growing increasingly restless, and consequently the neocolonial government, headed by Fulgencio Batista, suppressed trades unions, strikes, and censored much of the press.[4] Castro pretended to be noncommunist in hopes of discouraging foreign aid to the neocolony. Nevertheless, by January 1959 the Cuban masses had successfully overthrown the neocolonial government and Batista fled to Europe. Statistics indicate that the antisocialist dictatorship caused somewhere between 1,000–20,000 deaths.[5]

While the upper classes left in anger and relinquished much of their property, which the Cubans subsequently reappropriated,[6] a minority of anarchists were also dissatisfied with the revolution’s course and either quit the Republic of Cuba in disappointment or committed acts of terrorism against the state.[7] Nevertheless, the lower classes overall favored the new administration, and they have shown no inclination to use explosives in order to commit terrorist attacks against the government despite many exile claims to the contrary;[8] a State Department memo in 1960 admitted that anticommunists should not intervene militarily but rather by economic means, as ‘The majority of Cubans support Castro.’[9] Education and healthcare in the Republic of Cuba improved massively,[10] as did agricultural output,[11] but in some respects progress was slow due to the excess of unfinished projects.[12] Some Western antisocialists established a programme in the 1960s to provide economic growth, employment, agrarian reform, education, housing, healthcare, more equitable distributions of national income, and other benefits to the people of Central and South America in order to discourage their interest in communism. But in 1970, researchers Jerome Levinson and Juan de Onis discovered that the Republic of Cuba actually came closer to these goals than most of the programme’s members.[13]

Modern era

After the short twentieth century, the republic was left with almost no other planned economies to turn to in case of emergency, and nobody was interested in purchasing their machinery. Hence a food crisis commenced[14] and many people wanted to leave, an option which the Cuban administration deregulated only to be further obstructed by the American ruling class.[15] [16] During this time the same ruling class also arrested and permanently imprisoned five Cubans for counterterrorism (albeit under the arbitrary accusations that they were violating travel laws and intended to commit conspiracies against the U.S.).[17] Medical data indicate that at least 47,000[18] youths died as a result of the sanctions that antisocialists imposed on the Republic of Cuba.[19] [20] [21] [22] The upper classes were betting that the Republic of Cuba would soon collapse.[23] International pressure from the white bourgeoisie continues to place the republic under strain.

The difficult challenges facing Cuba as it moves forward are not unlike those facing social benefits systems everywhere: budget-buster pension and health costs, increasing demands due to economic crisis, demands to improve both efficiency and effectiveness. All face the challenge of engaging the participation of consumers and require the development of effective mechanisms for monitoring access, reach, and quality of services at the community level, particularly for vulnerable groups. But, unlike the people of many other countries, Cubans face these challenges as a people who have constructed a society that is equitable and humane. Those values and that experience inspire and inform new systems as Cuba moves into the future.

—Oxfam America, [1]

Politics

U.S. officials have privately stated that there ‘is no question that the bureaucracy operates relatively freely and probably makes decisions without consulting Castro.’[24] The Communist Party does not select candidates, nor does it decide elections, nor does it track voters, nor does it participate in the elections at all; individuals directly nominate any adults whom they think should be candidates.[25] The Republic of Cuba has abolished corruption through the semidirect democracy of electing people to the National Assembly of Peoples Power.[26] [27] [28]

Most Cubans I speak to support the reshaping of the economy and the greater ties with the US. Just like us, they want to better their lives, they want a better mobile phone, a bigger house, they want to travel. But none of them would want to live in a Cuba, no matter how rich, without universal free education, free healthcare, cheap public transport and the lowest rates of violent crime in the Americas. None of them. This is Fidel’s legacy.

—The Independent, [2]

Opposition

A common argument against communism is that the Cuban exile population (and their antisocialism) ‘proves’ that communism is only harmful. This omits a key fact: the exiles come primarily from the wealthy class of the neocolonial era. A study conducted by researchers from Stanford University (published in the Oxford University Press), entitled Cubans in Exile: A Demographic Analysis, discusses this topic:

Comparison of the occupational, age, and educational composition of the community with the Cuban population indicates that the refugees are better educated and come from higher status occupations than the population from which they have exiled themselves. [M]ore recent exiles are more representative of the Cuban population, but the rural worker is still vastly underrepresented.

—Oxford University Press, [3]

Another factor to consider is that the exodus occurred during a time of conflict and difficulty for Cuba; the revolution was still very new, and the government had not entirely established itself yet. This likely explains why there were some outliers (i.e. exiles from the working-class population), although the majority were still from the wealthy sectors of Cuban society.

Economy

Since the very beginning, the Cuban revolution has been committed to the improvement of life for the people in both the economic and social spheres:

When Cuba’s revolution came to power in 1959, its model of development aimed to link economic growth with advances in social justice. From the start, transforming economic changes were accompanied by equally transforming social initiatives. For example, in 1959, Cuba carried out a profound agrarian reform which ended latifundia [land estate system] in the island and distributed land to thousands of formerly landless small farmers.

—Oxfam America, [4]

The Republic of Cuba is a planned economy, but it did reintroduce some liberal reforms in the 1990s. Nevertheless, today they have a body of elected delegates who direct the economy away from the established framework and into one that successfully allows for workers’ self-management.[29] [30] With over five thousand in existence, the cooperatives have already achieved a prominent rôle in the planned economy over the last decade and are likely to develop further in the previsible future.[31] Despite economic pressure, the Republic of Cuba has largely succeeded in providing a decent quality of life for its people. The unemployment rate remains below 3%, as it has for decades.[32]

All citizens are legally entitled to food.[33] It is currently a world leader in organic farming,[34] [35] and Havana in particular has a good deal of food providers.[36] Nevertheless, the World Food Program has claimed that 70–80% of its domestic food requirements derive from imports, with most slated for social protection programmes.[37] Data from the World Health Organization indicate that as of 2017 they have a malnutrition rate of less than 2.00.[38] [39] The FAO concluded that the Republic of Cuba’s ‘remarkably low percentages of child malnutrition put [them] at the forefront of developing countries’[40] and World Food Program USA has likewise concluded that over the last five decades, their ‘comprehensive social protection programs’ have ‘largely eliminated hunger and poverty.’[37] [41] As of 2018 the Global Hunger Index has rated the Republic of Cuba as ‘low’ on their index.[42] According to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture, the average Cuban consumes approximately 3300 calories per day, far above the Latin American and Caribbean average, and only slightly lower than in the United States. Approximately two thirds of nutritional needs are met by monthly food rations, while the rest is bought independently. The report also states:

The Cuban economy has made remarkable progress toward recovery from the economic disaster generated by the collapse of the Soviet Bloc.

—USDA, [5]

Oil accounted for about 85% of their electricity generated in 2013, but they have set a goal of producing 24% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 in an effort to diversify their energy portfolio. The state-owned power company Unión Eléctrica has been planning thirteen wind projects with a total capacity of 633 MW, and the republic plans to add 755 MW of biomass-fired capacity, 700 MW of solar capacity, and 56 MW of hydroelectric power as well. The republic’s demand for electricity has been growing as a result of new economic reform, but production has remained stagnant, causing occasional blackouts and other deficiencies. Consequently they have taken measures to reduce the amount of electricity that the government consumes so that the private sector can remain safe from blackouts or other deficiencies.[43]

The Republic of Cuba’s successful models of sustainable development — in areas of food, housing and health — have been widely replicated throughout Latin America.[44] The Global Footprint Network has evaluated them as being ecologically sustainable (in contrast to the U.S.A.),[45] in fact it is only country in the world that meets WWF conditions of sustainable development, for both the Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint.[46] [47] [48] They have 30.6% forest coverage due to their reforestation programme[49] for example, and the Guardian has stated:

[T]he evidence suggests that Cuba has made excellent progress towards the MDGs in the last decade, building on what are already universally acknowledged to be outstanding achievements in equitable health and education standards. According to a new MDG Report Card by the Overseas Development Institute, Cuba is among the 20 best performing countries in the world.

—Jonathan Glennie, [6]

This also includes a statement from a Cuban economist on how this progress is made:

The Cuban economy is planned and we redistribute income from the most dynamic sectors, which generate most foreign exchange, towards those that are less dynamic but necessary for the country. That’s how we maintain a budget to keep health and education high quality and free of charge to the user.

—Anonymous Cuban, [7]

Infrastructure

The revolution greatly improved the housing situation in the Republic of Cuba, and also brought significant urban development:

Initiatives in the cities were no less ambitious. Urban reform brought a halving of rents for Cuban tenants, opportunities for tenants to own their housing, and an ambitious program of housing construction for those living in marginal shantytowns. New housing, along with the implementation of measures to create jobs and reduce unemployment, especially among women, rapidly transformed the former shantytowns.

—Oxfam America, [8]

Likewise, the social security and pensions system in the republic has drastically improved since the revolution:

Both coverage and distribution have improved significantly since the revolution. With a pension system since the 1930s, Cuba was one of the first Latin American countries to establish one. It consisted of independent pension funds and by 1959 covered about 63% of workers, but the system varied greatly in terms of benefits and relied almost exclusively on workers’ contributions. Since 1959, the program has been funded completely by the government. In 1958, about 63% of the labor force was covered for old age, disability, and survivors insurance; today, the coverage is universal.

—Oxfam America, [9]

In 1959, approximately 50% of Cuban households had access to electricity. By 1989, more than 95% of households had access to electricity, including in rural areas, which had previously been almost entirely deprived.[50] They achieved full electrification by the 2010s,[51] and have surpassed many of their neighbors in terms of electricity generation:

By 1990 Cuba had roughly 1.8 times more generating capacity per person than the Dominican Republic and 1.3 times more than Jamaica.

—Environmental Defense Fund, [10]

In Cuba, access to clean water and sanitation has drastically improved since the revolution. As of 2018, 96.4% of the urban population and 89.8% of the rural population had access to clean drinking water, while 94.4% of the urban population and 89.1% of the rural population had access to improved sanitation services.[52]

This is Fidel’s legacy. Clean water and electricity for all. And universal free education and healthcare. Cubans often joke that they’re healthier and better educated than Americans despite the 50-year-plus US blockade. So for me, rural Cuba is Fidel’s Cuba. His ideals live on here — and the rural poor of Cuba have benefited the most from his cradle-to-grave policies. Here, the grandchildren of peasants really do go on to become consultant surgeons and commercial airline pilots.

—The Independent, [11]

Health

Whether it is a consultation, dentures or open heart surgery, citizens are entitled to free treatment. As a result the impoverished island boasts better health indicators than its exponentially richer neighbour 90 miles across the Florida straits.

—Guardian, [12]

Another source on this is the study Health in Cuba, published by the Oxford University Press’s International Journal of Epidemiology:

Cuba represents an important alternative example where modest infrastructure investments combined with a well-developed public health strategy have generated health status measures comparable with those of industrialized countries. […] If the Cuban experience were generalized to other poor and middle-income countries human health would be transformed.

—International Journal of Epidemiology, [13]

This is demonstrated by the particular health statistics of the republic after the revolution. For example, prerevolutionary life expectancy was approximately 6.3 decades, compared to approximately 7 decades in the USA. By 1973 (thirteen years after the revolution), the republic had caught up to the USA; it has since surpassed it in terms of life expectancy with an average of 7.5 decades;[53] UNICEF[54] and World Bank statistics indicate that the republic has achieved a higher life expectancy[55] and better mortality rate[56] [57] than the United States. The prerevolutionary adult male mortality rate was also already slightly lower than that of the United States, but the gap has widened significantly in the Republic of Cuba’s favor since the revolution.[58] The prerevolutionary percentage of women surviving the age 65 was significantly lower in the republic than in the United States; today, it is slightly higher.[59]

In 2006 the International Journal of Epidemiology stated that the Republic of ‘Cuba represents an important alternative example where modest infrastructure investments combined with a well-developed public health strategy have generated health status measures comparable with those of industrialized countries.’[60] The Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring System indicated in 2015 that youths over the age of two have a 31.6% chance of developing anaemia, however.[37]

The republic is also famous for its number of medical professionals, causing some people to return there[61] or seek their medical training there.[62] Since the 1990s the Republic of Cuba has had the most doctors per capita, one for every 214 inhabitants, of all the countries in the world.[53]

Cuban scientists were the first to introduce a vaccine for lung cancer,[63] an anti-AIDS contagion pill,[64] and they designed new hepatitis B vaccines[65] [66]; Time reported that the Republic of Cuba has eliminated the transmission of HIV and syphilis through pregnancies,[67] making them the world’s first country to do so,[68] and since 2019 they have been distributing PrEP gratis to those who need it,[69] reducing the chance of HIV infection by as much as 90%.[70] Today the republic offers genital reconstructions gratis.[71] Bloomberg placed the Republic of Cuba’s healthcare above the U.S.’s,[72] and the New York Times has confirmed that U.S. students do travel there to seek medical training.[73]

The Republic of Cuba has sent teachers, doctors, and workers to dozens of superexploited countries gratis. For example, in the 2010s they became the most important supporter to the Haitians after the 2010 earthquake.[74] During the same decade they assisted Mozambicans that survived a hurricane,[75] and they provided the most important medical support to western Africa during the Ebola outbreak.[76] Their republic has also treated more children (13,000) who were victims of the Chernobyl incident[77] [78] than all other countries put together.[53] Both the Republic of Cuba and the People’s Republic of China have distributed 933 tons of medicine to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.[79]

They are highly prone to tropical storms, hurricanes, heavy rainfalls, drought and occasional earthquakes,[37] consequently they have developed the best response system in the Caribbean,[80] with less than a hundred deaths in the past decade or so.[81] [82] They have successfully evacuated up to 1.5 million people[83] and weathered the most catastrophic hurricanes to date.[84] [85] [86] Each residential block has somebody assigned to take a census on who is being evacuated to which shelter, with special attention paid to elders and pregnant people, and as efforts are organized locally, compliance is increased.[87] A big part of the Cuban resilience to hurricanes and similar extreme weather (compared to other Caribbean nations) is also that they have not cut down all their forests; it is a conscious decision to keep forests up as that keeps the force of winds down. (Comparatively: other islands get devastated as they have done more deforestation.)

Education

Since the revolution, the Republic of Cuba has made enormous strides in education. One of the most significant developments was the National Literacy Campaign (which Che Guevara spearheaded):

The National Literacy Campaign of 1961, recognized as one of the most successful initiatives of its kind, mobilized teachers, workers, and secondary school students to teach more than 700,000 persons how to read. This campaign reduced the illiteracy rate from 23% to 4% in the space of one year.

—Oxfam America, [14]

The revolutionary literacy in Cuba was between 60% and 76%, depending on the estimates used. Today, the CIA World Factbook gives the Cuban literacy rate as 99.8%.[88] In addition, Cuba spends a greater percentage of GDP on education than any other country in the world.[89]

At one point the Republic of Cuba had 25,000 Third World students studying on scholarships, and it still has many scholarship students from Africa and other continents. Since the 1990s they have been the republic with the most teachers per capita of all countries in the world, including developed countries.[53] UNICEF data indicate that they have a higher literacy rate than the United States.[54]

Culture

Social policy has also favored the development of equity across society, including the equitable distribution of benefits across all sectors of the population, sometimes favoring the most vulnerable. In the last 40 years Cubans have greatly reduced differences in income between the lowest and the highest paid persons. Women have benefited significantly from the revolution as they have educated themselves and entered the labor force in large numbers. The differences among Cubans of different races have also been reduced.

—Oxfam America, [15]

External links

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