Cuba: What Is and What Can Be


A Canadian perspective on Cuba's past and possible future, via Mark Milke of the Calgary Herald:

Cuba in 1958 had a per capita GDP of $3,170 according to the OECD. (Canada's was $8,947.). But Cuba outranked all other Latin American countries except four: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Tellingly, in 1958, the island nation's per person wealth was higher than any East Asian country or colony, save Japan, which barely beat Cuba at only $3,290. Hong Kong had a per capita GDP of $2,924, Singapore's was $2,294, the Philippines' was $1,447, Taiwan's per person GDP stood at $1,387 and South Korea's was $1,112.

Thus in 1958, Cuba was almost as rich as Japan, one and half times as wealthy as Singapore, richer than Hong Kong, and three times as prosperous as South Korea.

Fifty years later, Cuba is one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

Meanwhile, jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan (the latter two also had dictators and problems similar to Cuba in the 1950s) have long eclipsed Cuba. They've done so not only in per capita wealth, but in measurements Castro's defenders point to when they assert the Marxist revolution "worked," such as in health care and education.

Milke doesn't have any faith in Castro Junior doing what's right. His preferred solution is for the U.S. to lift its stupid and ineffective embargo and "wash the Communists out to sea on a tidal wave of U.S. dollars from investment, trade and tourism."

Whole thing here.

Hat Tip: Alan Vanneman. hosts Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) talking down the embargo here.

reason on Cuba over the years.