The Death of Castro

The death of Castro requires special comment as social media has been awash, over the last couple of days, with celebrations of the man who has presided over a country where doctors are paid $25 a month, teacher $15, and the best paid professions are taxi driver and prostitute. A nation where people need vouchers to buy food.

But what can you say to someone who loves Big Brother?

Some of his champions naively blame the U.S. embargo on Cuba for these conditions but, while the embargo is needless, immoral, and never should have been implemented, this simply belies their basic lack of understanding of economics. Conditions in Cuba are the obvious and necessary consequence of central planning and reflect those consequences of wherever else it has been tried. Cuba can trade with most of the world so it can’t simply be the American embargo at fault. What Cuba cannot do is build up the wealth and capital necessary to take their people out of poverty.

My mother visited Cuba early in the year and stopped at a tobacco farm where she learned that those that labour there work like dogs year round, until harvest time when the government takes 70% of their crops, leaving them with the other 30. (How is this not exploitation of the working class to the left?)

This is why Cuba is poor. If you rob people of their efforts you rob them of their dignity and desire to work for those efforts. You can’t grow an economy under those conditions, increasing peoples living standards depends on people having the incentive to produce more than they consume.

Other supporters point to Cuba’s supposedly renowned healthcare system (which doesn’t have the money to provide medicines) and education. On facebook, I quipped, “People celebrating Castro would rather everyone was poor but got free healthcare from the government, than everyone was rich enough to pay for their own healthcare.”

In a land where people are not free to attain to their highest potential what little use to them can an education be?

Our hopes remain with the Cuban people.



Antony Sammeroff is a writer and life coach from Glasgow living in Edinburgh. He is the Scottish Libertarian Party’s spokesperson on economics and environment and hosts The Scottish Liberty Podcast weekly, with co-host Tom Laird. He also writes his own economics blog Seeing the Unseen.


One response to “The Death of Castro”

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