Paul Hare notes that “Cuba’s education and healthcare are still widely admired in the developing world.” (“Castro’s Legacy Makes Cuba’s Progress Harder,” November 29). But Cuba’s achievements in this area were largely inherited by the Castro regime, not created by it.
Before Fidel seized power in Cuba in 1959, its people already had access to healthcare. Cuba then had one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates, with 5.8 deaths per 1,000 babies, compared to 9.5 per 1,000 in the United States. It had more doctors per capita than France or the United Kingdom. When Fidel took over Cuba, it already had one of Latin America’s highest literacy rates (higher than Spain’s), and one of the most highly-regarded university systems in the Western hemisphere.
Today, hospitals in Cuba’s capital are literally falling apart. Sometimes, patients have to bring everything with them – including sheets and medicine -- because the hospital provides nothing.
Competitive Enterprise Institute,
Washington, DC, US
Originally posted to Financial Times.