Cuba is a democracy
Our Readers' Opinions
August 20, 2004

Cuba is a democracy

Editor: Recently I heard a caller on an FM station referring to the Cuban government as undemocratic.
Now the definition of democracy is government by the people for the people.
The Cuban government, under the leadership of President Fidel Castro, has been able to lift the living standards of the Cuban people, despite immense pressures from the United States. {{more}}
In Cuba, every person has access to adequate medical care. Illiteracy is a thing of the past. Every child is guaranteed an education from preschool to university. The basic needs of the people are taken care of by the state albeit without some of the unnecessary luxuries that some of us clamour for every day. The infant mortality rate in Cuba is lower than that of most developed countries.
Let us now look at life in the so-called democratic world. In the “democratic world” about 1.3 billion people live on less than U.S. $1 a day; three billion live on less than $2; 1.3 billion have no access to clean water; three billion have no access to sanitation; and two billion have no access to electricity.
In Bolivia, in South America, a supposed democratic country, 2/3 of the population live on $2 each day while 500 children below the age of five years die each hour because of deprivation.
Let’s look at other democratic examples. A poor African child has a 10 times greater chance of dying than a poor American child; about 800 million people in the “developing world” go each day without access to the basic calorie requirement. One asks, where is the government by the people and for these people?
The United States, the richest country in the world, is held by many as the bastion of democracy. But let us just look at the following.
In the world’s richest country 36 million people live below the poverty line.
Over 43 million people do not have access to proper health care because they do not have health insurance.
There are about 30 million illiterates and another 30 million functional illiterates.
The rate of poverty among blacks is over 29 per cent while the rate for the whole population is 14 per cent.
The poverty rate in some rural areas is as high as 50 per cent.
In some rural areas there is one doctor to every 8,000 to 10,000 persons.
Over 55 per cent of workers in the private sector have no social security coverage.
It is estimated that 13 per cent of the total U.S. population will not live beyond 60 years.
One question then: where is the government of the people and for these people?

Dr. Franklyn James