Freedom and tyranny in Cuba and the USA
Ah, yes. The United States of America. The Greatest Country on Earth. Bastion of Freedom and Liberty (both); Great Land of Freedom of Speech™.
And Cuba. One of the most horrible, wretched countries in the world. All citizens are trapped, and are in poverty. The Evil Devil Dictator (AKA Fidel Castro) stole the wealth from the Productive Class to redistribute to the Lazy Class.
Let’s see what the differences really are.
Complaint #1: Medicine is in short supply in Cuba due to the embargo.
Yes it is. But if you have an emergency, you can still go to the emergency room without having your house foreclosed on you. You can get life-saving surgery without paying a cent. You get free therapy and mental health care, preventing many psychology-related health problems (like problems caused by stress).
The free health care, combined with the highest doctor-patient ratio in the world, means that Cuba has
1. A lower infant mortality rate than the US
2. Fewer overall deaths (per 1000 people per year), even though it has a higher median age
3. The life expectancy is lower in Cuba by 0.62 years (still having trouble wrapping my head around how this makes sense statistically)
So even though the average person in Cuba is slightly older than the average person in the US, a higher percentage of people still die in the US, and people are expected to live a similar lifespan. And Cuba doesn’t have access to nearly as many drugs as the US. So something must be seriously wrong with the US health system, no?
Also, if you look at the fact that Cuba rations food, so people are more likely to be malnourished, yet life expectancy is still not much lower than the US, and deaths are lower – it makes you wonder what the US is doing so wrong again.
Complaint #2: There is no freedom of speech or of the press in Cuba, and you are more likely to be put in prison.
The first part is true. People do speak against the government in conversation, but I do not believe they are allowed to publish their opinions.
The second part is pure rubbish. The US has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world. It jails 743 people per every 100,000. Cuba is at number 7, with 487. Poor minorities are much, much more likely to be jailed in the US than wealthy white people. So how free is a country really when it puts more people in jail than any other country?
Also, considering the fact that university education isn’t an obstacle for anybody in Cuba (while it’s a huge obstacle for the poor in the US), knowledge is in some ways more free in Cuba than in the US.
The poor in the US are worse off than the poor in Cuba. Poor people in Cuba rarely get evicted from their houses or end up on the street, and they never die simply because they can’t afford health care or food. They are less likely to be incarcerated. The poor in Cuba can even get a free university education. I always measure a culture or society by how it treats its most powerless. Whether you are kept from leaving the country due to threat of prison, or insufficient funds, the result is the same: You’re trapped.
Cuba is not a great country (though I honestly can’t think of one that is), and I would never claim that it is socialist. But considering how much flack it’s gotten over the years, and how little criticism the US has gotten comparatively, I think it’s time to rethink what freedom and power really mean, where our priorities lie, and what we really need to fear.
~ by owlcat on 23 February, 2012.