Debunking Liberal Lies on Cuba
After Bernie Sanders doubled down on his past comments praising Fidel Castro, he’s actually managed to attract others who are backing him up.
Ian Goodran, a propagandist for China Daily (which is owned by the Communist Party of China), attempted to enlighten us on the regime’s accomplishments in the following viral tweet. Fair warning, you may feel your IQ dropping while reading it:
In 60 years, Cuba has achieved:
—79.74 years life expectancy (US: 78.69)
—99.75% literacy rate (US: 99%)
—0% homelessness (US: .17%)
—1.7% unemployment (US: 3.6%)
All this, despite decades of the cruelest embargo in history.
Defending Cuba shouldn't even be a question.
— Ian Goodrum (@isgoodrum) February 24, 2020
Where to begin with today’s lesson in how to lie with statistics?
Life Expectancy: As is the case for all the statistics quoted, we’re working under the impossible assumption that the Cuban government is being truthful. And in this case, the government is incentivizing doctors to be untruthful.
As one paper published in the journal Health Policy and Planning notes: Cuban physicians are given health outcome targets to meet or face penalties. This provides incentives to manipulate data. Take Cuba’s much praised infant mortality rate for example. In most countries, the ratio of the numbers of neonatal deaths and late fetal deaths stay within a certain range of each other as they have many common causes and determinants. One study found that that while the ratio of late fetal deaths to early neonatal deaths in countries with available data stood between 1.04 and 3.03 — a ratio which is representative of Latin American countries as well. Cuba, with a ratio of 6, was a clear outlier. This skewed ratio is evidence that physicians likely reclassified early neonatal deaths as late fetal deaths, thus deflating the infant mortality statistics and propping up life expectancy. Cuban doctors were re-categorizing neonatal deaths as late fetal deaths in order for doctors to meet government targets for infant mortality.
Furthermore, different races have different average life expectancies within America, so it makes no sense to compare the lifespan of Cubans to a group as heterogeneous as all Americans. Hispanic Americans happen to have higher lifespans than Caucasian Americans (82.90 years to 79.12 years) – and Cubans.
Literacy: It’s unclear why Goodrum found this worth mentioning. The benefit of repressing human freedom is a 0.75 percentage point advantage in literacy rates? Yes, even a repressive government is capable of teaching people to read, something that preschoolers can learn. Congratulations?
Furthermore, as the Cato Institute notes; Cuba’s literacy rate rose by 26 percent between 1950/53 and 2000. But literacy rose even more, by 37 percent, in Paraguay. Food consumption in Cuba actually declined by 12 percent between 1954/57 and 1995/97. It rose by 19 percent in Chile and by 28 percent in Mexico over the same time period. Between 1954/57 and 1995/97, the rate of change in car ownership per 1,000 people in Cuba declined at an annual rate of 0.1 percent. It increased at an annual rate of 16 percent in Brazil, 25 percent in Ecuador and 26 percent in Colombia.
Homelessness: The same objection as above applies – expect for a 0.17 percentage point difference. And it’s also not true. According to the Havana Times: The number of homeless people is growing in Havana, as well as in the rest of the country. As one homeless elderly woman told the Times, “Most of the retired elderly population receive a pension of 248 pesos (10 USD) per month, and it’s impossible for anyone to get by with this amount. An old person has to eat, buy medicine, wash their clothes, pay the electricity bill and gas and water bills too in lots of cases. It’s utopian to think that somebody can take on all these expenses if they live alone.”
While it’s not like the Cuban government is going to admit that homelessness exists in their country (making it impossible to garner statistics on the problem), we know for certain that the number of homeless is greater than the “zero” we’re told there are.
1.7% Unemployment – I’ll borrow an argument from America’s liberals on this one: sure unemployment is low, but the jobs don’t pay anything. Except in this case it’s actually true.
The average Cuban earns roughly $300 a year, compared to over $63,000 for the average American household. The average McDonalds employee in America earns more money than most Cubans (and yes, that’s accounting for differences in the cost of living).
And do I need to point out that unemployment is so low because the people there don’t have a choice? We could have 0% unemployment tomorrow if we forced people to work against their will – like Cuba does.
Defending Cuba shouldn’t even be a question – it’s something no serious individual can do.