An Unconvincing Achievement / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 30 September 2015 — In the face of failure of many countries to achieve the 2015 economic and social objectives established by the UN in 2000, the Cuban government has unleashed its current campaign, presenting itself as an example of a success, “despite the criminal blockade.”

First things first: it is not the same to achieve the objectives in a country of ten million people, that it is in the one of forty, a hundred, three hundred million and more, because in those the needs and costs to resolve them are vastly superior. In addition, and something that is not said, is that at the end of the decade of the fifties of the previous century, Cuba presented indicators in the economy, healthcare, education, social security and many others much higher than those of countries in Latin American, Asia and Africa, and in some areas higher than some European countries. Just check the statistics.

Therefore, with much less effort and expense than the governments of other countries, Cuba could achieve these results: during the Republic it had laid the necessary groundwork and had produced the development which had it been continued, in January 1959–had it not committed so many mistakes and setbacks–would have allowed the country to have a better economic and social situation now.

It is true that, at least statistically, the objectives were achieved, but the housing stock is in crisis and thousands of Cubans live in deplorable conditions, the lack of public hygiene and rampant epidemics, the health and educational services are not that good, the sidewalks are broken, the water and sewer services are collapsed in many places, public transport is the worst, wages are insufficient to cover minimum needs, access to information is restricted and that which is permitted is ideologically manipulated. The list of unmet needs could be endless.

In this case the situation is similar to when Havana was declared an Urban Wonder of the World: Who cares?