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Cuba's decline: By the numbers

By John | Reason Over Might

Originally posted 09.06.05 | The disastrous "progress" that Cuba has experienced over the past 40-50 years, during its "pretty revolution", can be quantified. The following figures are attributed to UN, FAO, and UNESCO sources and tell it all. A catastrophic decline in living standards, productivity, healthcare, and income -- all attributable directly to the Great Leader, F. Castro himself, beloved icon of the dreaming revolutionary left (see table below).

Interestingly, there has been no tradeoff for Cubans: they have not received better living conditions in exchange for less freedom or greater freedom in exchange for worse living conditions. Instead, they have received the worst of both worlds. They suffer their ignominious, imposed poverty in conditions of oppression, in a police state that negates civil liberties, where freedom of expression and political activity are remote dreams, where an arbitrary legal system means that anything you do or say can be held against you at the whim of the dictator and his minions.

A rather obvious question following from the information is: How daft would you have to be to emulate such an economic/political model? Very daft indeed, I should say. It is simply incomprehensible to me that a leader could choose the worst role model instead of the best as an example for his country to follow. Unless, of course, that leader does not have the best interests of his fellow citizens at heart at all, but rather follows personal goals of his own, such as power, money, and recognition from revolutionary has-beens in Cuba and some European circles. I am still not decided on whether Venezuela's Chávez is malevolent or merely deluded, or perhaps a dangerous mixture of both. But about one thing there can be no doubt: He is putting Venezuela on a seriously wrong track and needs to be stopped.

Here are the figures that describe Cuba's decline:

Population in million inhabitants
1959: 6
2004: 12

Per capita income, $ per year
1959: 1200
2004: 70

Telephones per 100 inhabitants
1959: 15
2004: 3,5

Electricity consumption per capita, watts
1959: 450
2004: 75

Consumption of calories, calories per inhabitant and day
1959: 2800
2004: 1100

Meat consumption, pounds per inhabitant and year
1959: 76
2004: 12

Consumption of eggs, units per inhabitant and year
1959: 47
2004: 13

Consumption of chickens, pounds per inhabitant and year
1959: 12
2004: 5

Number of cars per 1000 inhabitants
1959: 38
2004: 10

1 city bus per ... inhabitants
1959: 300
2004: 25000

1 intercity bus per ... inhabitants
1959: 2000
2004: 35000

Number of televisions per 1000 inhabitants
1959: 66
2004: 15

Number of TV stations
1959: 7 (2 in colour)
2004: 2

1 medical doctor per ... inhabitants
1959: 950
2004: 750

1 dentist per ... inhabitants
1959: 2100
2004: 1850

Head of cattle, million
1959: 6
2004: 1,8

Rate of inflation, percent per year
1959: 1,8
2004: 25

Number of newspapers
1959: 18
2004: 2 (no dailies)

Number of tourists per year
1959: 750.000
2004: 1.200.000

Sugar harvest, million tons
1959: 7
2004: 1,8

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