andalusia wrote:I have always been a little confused by the actual conditions of Cuba before the Revolution. I would like people's responses about this, if Cuba was so prosperous why was there a revolution? Is this propaganda from the Miami Exiles? This is an excerpt from Wikipedia about the economic conditions from History of Cuba:
Although corruption was rife under Batista, Cuba did flourish economically during his regime. Wages rose significantly; according to the International Labour Organization, the average industrial salary in Cuba was the world's eighth-highest in 1958, and the average agricultural wage was higher than in developed nations such as Denmark, West Germany, Belgium, and France. Although a third of the population still lived in poverty, Cuba was one of the five most developed countries in Latin America by the end of the Batista era, with 56% of the population living in cities.
In the 1950s, Cuba's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was roughly equal to that of contemporary Italy, and significantly higher than that of countries such as Japan, although Cuba's GDP per capita was still only a sixth as large as that of the United States. According to the United Nations at the time, "one feature of the Cuban social structure [was] a large middle class". Labour rights were also favourable – an eight-hour day had been established in 1933, long before most other countries, and Cuban workers were entitled to a months's paid holiday, nine days' sick leave with pay, and six weeks' holiday before and after childbirth.
Cuba also had Latin America's highest per capita consumption rates of meat, vegetables, cereals, automobiles, telephones and radios during this period.:186 Cuba had the fifth-highest number of televisions per capita in the world, and the world's eighth-highest number of radio stations (160). According to the United Nations, 58 different daily newspapers operated in Cuba during the late 1950s, more than any Latin American country save Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Havana was the world's fourth-most-expensive city at the time, and had more cinemas than New York. Cuba furthermore had the highest level of telephone penetration in Latin America, although many telephone users were still unconnected to switchboards.
Moreover, Cuba's health service was remarkably developed. By the late 1950s, it had one of the highest numbers of doctors per capita – more than in the United Kingdom at that time – and the third-lowest adult mortality rate in the world. According to the World Health Organization, the island had the lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America, and the 13th-lowest in the world – better than in contemporary France, Belgium, West Germany, Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Additionally, Cuba's education spending in the 1950s was the highest in Latin America, relative to GDP. Cuba had the fourth-highest literacy rate in the region, at almost 80% according to the United Nations – higher than that of Spain at the time.
I regularly see this quote on different websites criticizing Castro and that he ruined Cuba. How poor was Cuba and what is the truth?
I know Communism contributed to the decline of the country since the economic system didn't have a price system to sell goods and a respect for property rights.
There's a lot of bullshit in that Wikipedia Article.
1° Cuba benefitted from a huge fucking boom in Sugar output, growing tenfolds Cuban exports. This happened from 1939 to 1947, and while Fulgencio Battista was indeed president from 40 to 44, he was elected by a large fraction on the Island's Communists. Fun fact, they pretty much contributed to most of the working electorate.
However the issue of social expenditure and progress didn't happen because of Batista, but thanks to the very uneven presidency of Grau Sa'martin. Grau was basically a Peronist which expanded State control and involvement in Cuban Society, with more state Control over the economy (Grau would re-invest the Sugar boom into state sponsored joint ventures). This went very bad in the long term as the US thought the Grau Sa'martin gig was a cover up for commies and the Mob (Havana Conference).
2. Out Grau, in Socarras which ironically was the guy who would start the real political violence, killing liberals and jailing communists. Socarras basically played cash for silence. While he was in charge (48/52) Cuba was renamed Corruption. You wanted to build a business, pay the piper. You wanted to study, pay the piper, you want to run for politics, pay the piper and play for the piper.
3. Most of the sources listed are NOT trustworthy and skewed. For instance Cuba had similar GDP per capita as Italy in the 50's is BS (actually it's the similar GDP in late 1940's while italy had both Hyperinflation and was basically a country ruined by 23 year dictatorship and 11 years of war and mobilization). However the GDP per capita in the early 40's (40-42) was two times the one of Cuba (which is already a huge gap for country like Italy).
We can pick up a lot of skewered data that compare a booming mono-income economy like Cuba with the likes of a post WW2 Japan (which like wtf was probably worse at that time than my own Albania). Basically Battista was going to the wall fast because he had nothing more to sell to the US, sugar fell to the ground (ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/x4988e/x4988e13.pdf) and Battista was stuck between the State expansion in the economy and the fact that meanwhile the US was finding better places to invest (Dat Marshall Plan) like the places it had bombed to the ground just a couple of years earlier.
In the end what killed the Cuban economy was its mono-income, big brother from across the Columbus Bay and most importantly the fact that no one had the vista to see how the WW2 boom was detrimental to the Cuban economy as it was done, mainly through US brokers (which owned a hefty part of the Sugar business).
Sadly when you talk like this people at 'Neoliberalism.com' fags, suddenly become dumb and deaf. Dindu Nuffins. Basically the US propped Cuba, the US killed it off by investing in Europe (this is equal for MOST LatAm).