Previous posts in this discussion:
PostComparing Puerto Rico, Haiti, and Cuba (Massoud Malek, USA, 03/24/21 4:18 am)
In response to Francisco Wong-Díaz (March 21st), I have been to Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
Haiti, a non-Marxist country with a population of a little over 9 million, is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where eighty percent of residents live in poverty, according to the CIA World Factbook. The latest official poverty estimate (2012) suggested that over 6 million Haitians lived below the poverty line of US $2.41 per day, and more than 2.5 million fell below the extreme poverty line of US $1.12 per day.
Puerto Rico, a United States territory, is not a Marxist country, but according to a study by the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, roughly 40 percent of Puerto Ricans aged 65 and older, who make up around 16 percent of the Caribbean island's population, live in extreme poverty. According to the Kids Count Puerto Rico Profile of 2019, 58.3 percent or almost 6 out of every 10 children in Puerto Rico live in poverty (Youth Development Institute, 2019). If you walk around the non-touristy areas of San Juan, you immediately witness abject poverty.
The citizens of Puerto Rico do not have any voting representation in Washington. On March 1, 2021, the US Supreme Court announced that it will consider the constitutionality of excluding those living in Puerto Rico from a federal retirement benefit known as Supplemental Social Security Income.
Cuba, a Marxist nation, has no problem with student loans or homelessness. Thanks to Fidel Castro, higher education is free to all citizens and if a Cuban has a headache, he or she can see a doctor without paying a peso. I met a university professor in Holguín, who told me that he was offered a position at an American university, but he decided to stay in Cuba, because of his wife who had cancer and was treated for four months in a hospital in Havana. He didn't pay even a peso for her treatment.
On March 22nd, Cuba started the vaccination of 150,000 frontline workers as part of the final phase of a clinical trial of the country's leading COVID-19 vaccine, called Soberana 2. The only other country in the American continent that produces covid-19 vaccine is the United States.
During Hurricane Irma in September 2017, which left one million people in Puerto Rico without power, I was in Cuba. After three days the electricity on the island was restored.
During Christmas 2019, for two weeks in Santiago de Cuba, every night in various parks, they performed ballet, modern dance, opera, jazz, fashion shows and other types of entertainments. How many Americans in Miami have watched Boléro of Ravel or Swan Lake of Tchaikovsky in a park without paying a penny?
Instead of fighting the Marxist regime of Castro, we should help the residents of Puerto Rico in obtaining a voice in their destiny and eradicating poverty.
JE comments: In Cuba, everyone (except a handful of the regime's elites) lives in poverty. Massoud, lately I've been reading the gritty vignettes of the "Cuban Bukowski," Pedro Juan Gutiérrez. I think you'd find them intriguing. Gutiérrez describes a world of vile communal toilets, bathtub rum, and scraping by on rice and beans. The women are often forced to choose between extreme deprivation or life as a "jinetera" (prostitution).
Yet in fairness, Cuba has achieved much in education, culture, and even medicine, despite the scarcity of almost everything.
What do we know about the Soberana 02 Covid vaccine? I found this piece (below) that says the results are promising, despite the lack of peer review. What I do know is that in the US, with the world's wealthiest health system by far, this frontline worker (me) remains unvaccinated. Just two days ago I was made eligible, though, so I hope to get the jab in a week or so.