Cuban growth under Castro

Movie Critics Aghast at Andy Garcia's The Lost City

by Humberto Fontova

I found the link to that article here

Its a comment to a blog post

that also might be looking at.

The comment quotes Fontova's article, most tellingly with

"In 1958 Cuba had a higher per-capita income than Austria and Japan. Cuban industrial workers had the 8th highest wages in the world."


Another commenter argues against this, mostly with ad-hominem, but he does provide a link

If you follow the chart at that link you see how things in Cuba have supposedly gotten better from 1958 to 1978.

Some responses come to mind.

1 - What about since 1978. Cuba was subsidized by the Soviet Union during the cold war.

2 - Only 5 categories of good and services are considered. Also the harder the category is to measure and put down to one simple number, the larger the difference. Education suppossedly went from 100 to 448. What does that even mean? Health care went from 100 to 202. Again what this means is very unclear. And do you really trust Cuban statistics?

3 - The other three categories, show minimal improvement over a generation. "Food and beverage" goes from 100 to 125, clothing from 100 to 100, housing from 100 to 104. This over a twenty year period where much of the world showed much larger improvements (And that's assuming that these numbers can be said to even measure anything).

The link tries to explain some of the slower areas of growth, or show how the larger areas where performed despite severe handicaps. I'll answer a few of the points.

1. Decline in clothing figures can be explained by the fact that a lot of raw material for the textile industry was imported from the US and needed to be replaced by local inputs, a structural transformation that was long and difficult.

Raw materials for textiles are wildly available on the world market. Lose one supplier and you can buy elsehwere.

2. Lack of growth in housing is because priority for the construction industry was given to building infrastructure, schools and industrial plants.

And the fact that government sets the priorities away from what might be directly useful to many people is somehow a good thing?

3. Gains in health took place despite the fact that 1 out of 3 doctors left Cuba in the first 3 years of the revolution. The infant mortality rate in Cuba, up until the recent economic crisis, was one of the lowest in the developing world.

And I'm sure the Cuban government has NO responsibility for the actions and policies which caused one third of its doctors to leave in just three years...

4. The illiteracy rate in Cuba went from 23.6 percent to 3.9 percent in less than one year."

Normally I try to answer clearly incorrect claims with argument and/or data, but this one's so extreme that perhaps the best answer is simple, BS.

"This was corroborated by UNESCO"

If that's true it reflects rather poorly on UNESCO.


Share this


I was going to make a minor edit, but I can't seem to figure out how to edit my post. Has editing by posters in the community been dropped?
The specific edit is unimportant, but some edit in the future might be.


Thanks for pointing that out. Now you should be able to edit your own posts.

Keep in mind that you can use the "chain links" icon on the WYSIWYG editor to embed links, something that would probably make it easier for people to follow the discussion at other blogs.

To edit your own post

(Just in case it's not obvious)

Click on your post title. At the top, there should be two options - "View" and "Edit". Click on "Edit".



Editing works, I made a very minor edit. But the hyperlinks... not so much.

I'll test it again in this reply TEST

I can't seem to click on it in the edit menu. I'll see if it works after posting this comment.

OK, its not that it doesn't work. It does, but the insert hyperlink window is too narrow. You can only see a tiny part of the hyperlink you are entering, but if you keep typing it in, as it scrolls off the visable area, it still works.

Tim, Cut and paste the


Cut and paste the hyperlinks. Then you don't have to worry about how narrow the window is. I've never actually typed in a url into the link window.

Also, if you highlight text before you do this operation, the hyperlinks will be embedded into the highlighted text, making for a much cleaner presentation.


Jon, Need any help on the site? Write me.