Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

June 9, 1999.


HAVANA - The Cuban Government has used all of the abundant means at its disposal to portray its long tenure in power as one of the most significant periods in the Nation's History. All of the preceding republican era is dismissed in the harshest of terms, the regime claiming that all politicians sought nothing but personal gain and self-enrichment at the expense of the public treasury.

Government propaganda is rife with the socio-economic "triumphs" which it contends only Castro's revolution could have brought about. And these "conquests" are presented to international public opinion as the wave of the future for the underdeveloped countries of the world. "We are first among Third World countries in education and surpass several industrialized countries. We will very soon be among the first countries of the world in education."

According to the official Communist Party line, until 1959 public health services were "inefficient." Politicians used them in order to get votes. But statistics for that era indicate otherwise.

In 1958, Cuba had the lowest infant mortality rate in all of Latin America, with 40 deaths per thousand live births. The Cuban rate was significantly lower than the corresponding statistics for France (41.9), Japan (48.9) and Italy (52.8). Although by 1994 world-wide advances in medicine had made it possible for Cuba to substantially reduce the rate to 9.9 per thousand, it had fallen behind the same three countries indicated above, with France showing an index of 7.0, Japan, 4.0 and Italy a per thousand infant mortality rate of 8.0.

Cuba's reduction in the infant mortality rate was made possible by a large drop in the birth rate as well as by a notable increase in the rate of abortions. During the period 1990-1995, Cuba had the lowest birth rate in all of Latin America and double the abortion rate of all of the countries under consideration.

World Health Organization data show that for 1950-1954 Cuba had one physician per 960 inhabitants. Compared with 30 other countries, this meant that Cuba surpassed Scotland (970), Belgium (980), England (1,200), Brazil (3,000) and Mexico (2,400). Consequently, during that period Cuba occupied the 10th highest rank in the entire world as far as this vital public health indicator was concerned. At present, Cuba still has the most favorable physician/inhabitant ratio in all of Latin America but its ranking among the rest of the nations of the world dropped to 24th place.

When physicians and dentists are considered as one group, in 1957 Cuba ranked third in Latin America, surpassed only by Argentina and Uruguay. According to United Nations statistics for that year, Cuba had 128 physicians and dentists per 1,000 inhabitants. This placed it at the same level as Holland, while surpassing England (122 per 1,000).

Cuban government propaganda is also full of praises for the revolution's "accomplishments" in the field of education. There is no denying that large investments have been made, that primary and secondary schools have been inaugurated as well as pre-university and university centers. But all of these so-called centers of learning abide strictly by the Marxist dictum that "education is the number one means by which to introduce ideology."

In spite of the highly disruptive effects of Cuba's two wars of Independence (the first of which lasted no less than 10 years), illiteracy was not high at the very beginning of this century when the strife ended. At that time, only 28 persons out of every 100 over 10 years of age did not know how to read and write. At present, only 16 out of 100 persons over said age are not literate. After a massive literacy campaign, illiteracy in Cuba was reduced only by 12.9 percent.

Student registration in the primary education system for the academic year 1955-1956 was 1,032 students per 10,000 inhabitants. This was higher than the corresponding statistics for the years 1988-1989 and 1989-1990, when registration per 10,000 inhabitants reached only 866.5 and 841.6, respectively.

During the 1955-1956 academic year, higher education reached an enrollment of 38 students per 10,000 inhabitants. For 1965-1966 enrollment was only 34 per 10,000 and for 1970-1971, it reached 41 per 10,000.

Beef, cereal consumption declines

According to the United Nations Statistical Summary for 1960, Cuba was third in the consumption of calories among all the countries of Latin America. A 1991 Food and Agriculture Organization report on world food consumption indicates that in 30-odd years Cuba had fallen in consumption of beef per inhabitant from an annual level of 33 kilograms to only 23 kilograms. Cereal consumption also declined from 106 kilograms annually at the end of the decade of the 1940s, to 100 kilograms half a century later.

In 1958, a United Nations annual report placed Cuba in 4th place among all the countries of Latin America in number of newspapers (58). Only Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, all with much larger populations than Cuba, outranked it in this regard. That same year, Cuba was ahead of all the other countries in the region in number of television and radio stations. While Cuba had 23 television stations in 1958, Mexico only had 12 and Venezuela had 10. Cuba also had 160 radio stations, significantly more than Australia (83), United Kingdom (62) and France (50). The report placed Cuba as the 8th highest country worldwide in the availability of communications media.

Cuba's exports in 1958 were significantly higher than were those of Chile or Colombia. At present, these countries' exports surpass by far those of Cuba. In 1958, Cuba's exports to the United States alone amounted to $861,000,000. According to the International Monetary Fund, in 1998 Cuba was the last country in rate of growth of exports out of all the 20 Latin American countries for which such data was available. This places present-day Cuba in the unenviable position of being out-ranked by poverty-stricken Haiti.

The above data can help people understand the enormous reduction in its standard of living that Cuban society has had to bear as a result of the senseless and cruel experiment to which it has been subjected over the last 40 years.

Sources: Fidel Castro's speeches; United Nations statistical summary for 1995; National Bank of Cuba, Economic Report, 1994; Economic Commission for Latin America, Annual Statistical Summary; Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf; Levi Marrero, et al, Geography of Cuba, Havana, 1957; Commerce, Economic and Planning Committee, Population and Housing Census, 1970; Annual Statistical Summary of Cuba, 1989; Annual Statistical Summary of Cuba, 1957.

Alberto Iglesias, Cuba Free Press.

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