Cuba is a very interesting country. It is a communist state with a large amount of people living on very low wages, the average being just $3 a day. Despite this, there have been a number of benefits that Cuba has experienced since becoming communist. It now has a 99.8% literacy rate, just as high as a lot of developed countries, if not better. Cuba’s infant mortality rate is lower than some developed countries, with 4.83 deaths per 1000 in 2012. The rate in the USA is 6.00 and the United Kingdom has a rate only marginally better than Cuba of 4.56. In fact, of 223 countries Cuba’s is 182nd. Therefore only 41 countries in the world have a lower infant mortality rate than Cuba.

Cuba also has an average life expectancy of 79.1, which is the 40th best in the world. This is very impressive, considering a lot of Cubans are actually living in poverty. Something else that is very interesting about Cuba, is that it is the only country that met that WWF’s definition of sustainable development. The criteria for this were having an ecological footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per capita and having a human development index of over 0.8. The fact that Cuba was the only country to achieve this is not only very impressive, although slightly worrying. This is because for the planet to survive, we really need every country meeting the first aim at least, if not the second. However, this does show that Cuba is a country that other countries should use as a model for their own sustainable development, especially some of the poorer ones.

All these benefits from the communist regime are all very well and good, but there are some huge problems. Cuba’s economy is in a mess and the communist government have effectively admitted this, by bringing in some capitalist measures to try and stop the country falling to pieces. For example, they are allowing people to own personal, small businesses, provided they register with the government and pay tax. This is definitely not a very communist idea, as it will mean some individuals will have the opportunity to become richer than others. As well as this, they are encouraging tourism as they currently get over 3 million tourists a year, all of whom contribute a large amount of money Cuba’s economy. It is not just people in the cities that are benefiting, as those living rural areas are seeing gains too. They can now lease land from the government and become their own boss. This is very important for a lot of Cuba’s population, as they can now produce as much food as they like and then sell it at a price they decide.

Cuba is a very interesting example of a country that, on one hand can have crippling problems in terms of its economy, despite having remarkable figures of infant mortality rate, life expectancy and literacy rate. Gradually, if its economy improves, we could see Cuba becoming a developed country. If it does achieve economic success, it would not be surprising to see the USA to end the long running feud between the two countries.

Contributed by Matthew Rudd.

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