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The Impact of Castro's Repression on Cuban Health:

As I noted in my last post, Castro's alleged improvements in Cuban health care are often used as a counterpoint to his repressive policies. Maybe he repressed political dissent, apologists claim, but at least he improved health care. For example, CNN urges its reporters to "[p]ease note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba -- namely free education and universal health care . . . in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech."

In addition to the more obvious objections to this line of argument, it's also essential to recognize that political repression is bad for health. As I discussed in this post, the Cuban communist government executed some 100,000 political prisoners and imprisoned some 350,000 others in brutal labor camps during the the 1960s alone. This in a population of just 6.3 million as of 1960. Obviously, getting executed is bad for your health. Due to the milder climate, Cuban forced labor camps probably have better health standards than Soviet Gulags. Nonetheless, even a tropical Gulag isn't too good for the health of the inmates. A substantial number of the labor camp inmates likely either died before their sentences were up or had their lifespan substantially reduced as a result of privation they endured.

Calculating the odds, this implies that the average Cuban at the start of Castro's regime had a roughly 1.5% chance of being executed by the regime and a 5.6% chance of being incarcerated in a labor camp. In reality, the risks were probably higher than that for those who stayed in Cuba, since the 6.3 million population figure includes several hundred thousand Cubans successfully fled the country in the early years of the regime (the US alone admitted some 750,000 Cuban refugees between 1960 and 1976).

Even if Castro's government really did improve health care substantially for those Cubans who were fortunate enough to avoid being executed or incarcerated in labor camps, the improvement would have to be pretty enormous to outweigh the negative health effects of the regime's repressive policies. How much of an in improvement in health care would be enough for you to be willing to take a 1.5% chance of being executed and a 5.6% chance of being sent to a brutal labor camp for at least several years?

UPDATE: I have corrected a minor calculation error in my estimate of the odds of being sentenced to a forced labor camp in 1960s Cuba. The correct figure is 5.6%, not 4.8%.

Molly123:
Holy Crap!

100k murdered in 60'!

That guy is must be B-A-D.

But, wait a minute. Is there any proof, beside of Miami Herald' media whores recycling CIA news for $80k a year in extra pocket money?

That murder figure is akin to those millions of birds killed by wind mills competing with Enron.

Perhaps, Ilya, you should change to "untold numbers"?

Well, the truth is, the Revolution consisted of taking away wine glasses and beer mugs from dead drunken officials on the New Year morning.

It was one of the less bloody Revolutions in human history.
Only a few guilty apparatchicks were executed. And Fidel was a guest at the White House, no less. Until he put hands on capitalist property.

As to those happy Cubans in USA? In Union City, NJ, they live 14 per apartment, make $5,25/h (rent $1400/month) and don't have ANY insurance at all.

But they have Bob Menendez, an apparatchick from a single political party land other then Cuba. And, while Fidel never had a secret Swiss bank account, his critic Menendez managed to get millions from political "contibutions", and from charities leasing his house at taxpayer's expense.
2.20.2008 10:36pm
Bama 1L:
How much of an in improvement in health care would be enough for you be willing to take a 1.5% chance of being executed and a 5% chance of being sent to a brutal labor camp for at least several years?

If you present the statistics that way, you are assuming that the Castro regime executed and imprisoned people completely at random. That's not likely to have been the case.
2.20.2008 10:36pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
When you refer to the "obvious objections," hopefully you have in mind the fact that when people don't have good food like we enjoy in America, and have to engage in manual labor because they're being held in near-medieval levels of poverty by communism, they're going to be healthier? It's absurd to point to communist health care as the reason a bunch of people who live on beans, work out all the time, and can't afford cigarettes are healthy.
2.20.2008 10:47pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
I'm not accusing you of that, obviously. But it seems like if the talking heads on TV thought about it for 30 seconds or so, they'd see alternative (and more likely) explanations for Cuban health than the glories of communist hospitals.
2.20.2008 10:48pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
As to those happy Cubans in USA? In Union City, NJ, they live 14 per apartment, make $5,25/h (rent $1400/month) and don't have ANY insurance at all.

Wouldn't this be evidence of how crappy Cuba is? I mean, if they prefer living like this here?
2.20.2008 10:49pm
Ilya Somin:
If you present the statistics that way, you are assuming that the Castro regime executed and imprisoned people completely at random. That's not likely to have been the case.

It was not completely random. But neither did you actually have to be guilty of any substantial opposition activity to get executed. But it is true that the risk was probably less than 1.5% for some and greater for others. Of course any improvements in health care were not randomly distributed either.
2.20.2008 10:57pm
Jagermeister:
"One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic."
- Joseph Stalin

Hey Molly, are we there, yet?

On the other hand, Iyla, I think the CNS story got some of its numbers wrong. The Wiki entry for human rights in Cuba http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Cuba (never an authoritative source, but a usually good for a rough estimate) gives a variety of numbers, from a low of about 2,000 (1959 to 1970) to a high of 73,000. The article says, "The Black Book of Communism claims an estimate of 15,000-17,000 people who were executed."

Any mistake Iyla might have made with his numbers is not relevant to his point. On the other hand, there seem to be no lack of the morally vacuous ready to excuse the regime. I'm glad to be graced by the presence of those capable of judging the dead as "guilty apparatchicks". Nothing like omnipotence when it comes to to these things. Think of how we could speed up the justice system with a few more like minded people in charge.
2.20.2008 10:58pm
Ilya Somin:
I was going to respond to Molly123's post. But I think it's silliness is self-refuting. A person who thinks that Florida is a one party state or that Castro executed only a few "apparatchiks" demonstrates her own ignorance without the need for further refutation by me.
2.20.2008 10:59pm
Jagermeister:
P.S. Sorry for the transposition of you name, Ilya. Duh!
2.20.2008 11:00pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
I think Molly123 is actually Raoul...
2.20.2008 11:16pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
Or maybe Fidel himself is using his newfound spare time to troll!
2.20.2008 11:17pm
Moly123:
Well, Ilya, Hudson County, NJ. One subway stop from WTC. A single party land, where even a court challenge from within the same party dissindents is dismissed by an apparatchick "judge" appointed (NJSA no less) from the "proportionate" party.

They don't play that even in Cuba. Do they?
2.20.2008 11:36pm
pmorem (mail):
Execution Euthanasia is a cost effective and compassionate form of health care.
2.20.2008 11:46pm
LM (mail):
A bit OT, but Letterman had the best comment on Castro's retirement. He said Castro would either be succeeded by his brother, Raoul, or by his idiot son, Fidel W. Castro.
2.21.2008 12:02am
theobromophile (www):
How much of an in improvement in health care would be enough for you to be willing to take a 1.5% chance of being executed and a 5.6% chance of being sent to a brutal labor camp for at least several years?

Assuming this is not a rhetorical question: well, an improvement over what? I happen to adore the health care that is available in the U.S.. Sure, I've had my share (or more than my share?) of mediocre or downright idiotic doctors, but, on the whole, I'm still alive and relatively healthy. I wouldn't trade the few thousand it would cost for me to get surgery to correct my two lingering health problems for freedom, let alone a chance of execution.

Better my time and money than my freedom and a threat to my life. Hell would freeze over before I would subject my family to a 1.5% chance of execution. What are the chances of someone in your immediate family being executed or sent to forced labour camps in Cuba?
2.21.2008 1:18am
Gordo:
Regarding the Cuban governments massive literacy campaigns, they serve one main purpose - they allow Cubans to be easily indoctrinated with the written word from their totalitarian overlords. Especially when competing words are censored and banned.
2.21.2008 2:02am
LM (mail):

Regarding the Cuban governments massive literacy campaigns, they serve one main purpose - they allow Cubans to be easily indoctrinated with the written word from their totalitarian overlords.

No doctrinaire rhetoric there, huh?
2.21.2008 2:54am
tvk:
This might be a cheap shot, but I just can't find any traction with the line that "Castro suppressed freedom, but at least he improved health care." What next? "The Nazis were crazy genocidists, but at least they ended the Depression?"
2.21.2008 2:59am
David M. Nieporent (www):
TVK: I think it's "Mussolini is a fascist, but at least he made the trains run on time."
2.21.2008 4:16am
LM (mail):
Godwin's Law and the false Castro/Hitler equivalence aside, the truth of the line depends on what you think "but at least he..." means. If you read it as claiming that Castro's faults and virtues were evenly balanced, then I agree with you (though I bet many Cubans wouldn't). But if it means you don't serve the lesson of tyranny with half-truths, then it makes sense to me.
2.21.2008 4:37am
Alan Gunn (mail):
People's willingness to find good things to say about brutal regimes knows no bounds. But none of them seem to want to paddle to Cuba on cobbled-together rafts.
2.21.2008 8:08am
Houston Lawyer:
Castro's supporters truly believe he did the right thing in killing off his adversaries. This is a feature of his regime, not a bug. They would do the same thing here to enact universal health care.
2.21.2008 8:26am
Adeez (mail):
"People's willingness to find good things to say about brutal regimes knows no bounds."

Hell yeah. Just witness the many comments on this site from those who support Bush, Dick, and the neocons!
2.21.2008 9:46am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Well Ilya, your premise is based on entirely bogus numbers that even the Black Book of Communism doesn't agree with (they, and they always take worst case numbers, claim 15-17,000 executions). Shouldn't the real test of the Cuban regime not be a comparison to the United States but to its neighbors. There is no doubt that Castro is a brutal and evil dictator. But his regime is certainly much better than some of the regimes in the neighborhood.

Given the choice I would rather live in Castro's Cuba than under the regime that was installed in Guatamala by the CIA or the ones we supported in El Salvador or Nicaragua throughout most of the Soviet era.

If we had treated Cuba like the rest of the Soviet Bloc, instead of pandering to Cuban exiles in Florida, Castro would have been gone with the Soviet Union. Instead our policies towards Cuba have been counterproductive.
2.21.2008 9:48am
Truth Seeker:
Saying Castro improved health case is like someone saying Hitler at least made the trains run on time.
2.21.2008 10:07am
New World Dan (www):
It's nice to see that 50 years of trade embargoes and sanctions have finally paid off.
2.21.2008 10:55am
Bender (mail):
Based on her posts it is easy to read between the lines and see that Molly123 is upset because she was civilly committed at one time after going off her meds. It happens.

When Castro came to power in Cuba, the country was the most economically advanced and fastest developing in the region. Batista was justly loathed as a dictator but under him the Cuban people were far freer and far fewer were killed, tortured, or imprisoned than is the case with Castro. I cannot think of a case in the Americas where a regime change caused such a dramatic and permanent lowering in the living standards and political freedoms of a nation. Peron's destruction of the Argentine economy comes close but is still no match.

Can J. F. Thomas give me an example. I'm also interested in his evidence for the counter-factual that the Castro regime would have withered away if US policies towards Cuba had been different.
2.21.2008 10:59am
WHOI Jacket:
I eagerly await all the boat people on cobbled rafts trying to get from the Keys to Havana.
2.21.2008 11:00am
steve_roberts (mail):
Given that the Cuban regime routinely murders and imprisons people, why would anyone suppose they wouldn't lie about their healthcare outcomes ?
2.21.2008 11:01am
WHOI Jacket:
or as was put better by someone else "Wherever there is a jackboat standing on a human throat, there will be a Western liberal there to tell the throat that it theoretically has "free" health care and enjoys a high literacy rate."
2.21.2008 11:02am
anonthu:
If you read it as claiming that Castro's faults and virtues were evenly balanced, then I agree with you

Seriously? Or am I misreading your post?

Hell yeah. Just witness the many comments on this site from those who support Bush, Dick, and the neocons!

Certainly brave of you to speak against our leaders in this "brutal regime".
2.21.2008 11:23am
Floridan:
A claim of 100,000 executions in Cuba during the 1960s is unsupportable by any objective source. Even the unobjective sources, such as the Cuban American National Foundation, give a far, far smaller number (in the case of the CANF, a group that hardly is likely to give the Castro regime the benefit of any doubt, its number is 12,000 in all the years since the Revolution).

If we are to believe the 100,000 in the sixities number, that would mean the Cuban government executed what amounted to 25 political prisoners every single day for eleven years.
2.21.2008 11:34am
Floridan:
If we are to believe the 100,000 in the sixities number, that would mean the Cuban government executed what amounted to 25 political prisoners every single day for eleven years.

I know there are only ten years in the sixities, but I was counting 1959, the first year of the new government, as well.
2.21.2008 11:38am
Mikey:
A few of the commenters here are proving the truth of John Derbyshire's comment: "Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy."
2.21.2008 12:09pm
Felix Sulla:
Question begging, Professor Somin. Your argument can logically be distilled down to the assertion that the bad things that happened in Cuba outweighed the good. Fair point, and you might even be correct....but that does not change the fact that health care and education did improve in Cuba. To include your (inaccurate) execution figures as a rebuttal to claims that health care improved is simply disingenuous. Still, scoring cheap ideological points was the point of the post, wasn't it...
2.21.2008 12:16pm
Adeez (mail):
"Certainly brave of you to speak against our leaders in this 'brutal regime'."

Thanks anonthu. But surely you'd agree that a regime can still be brutal, yet, still have not committed an act of brutality against you personally. Of course you do. And while I appreciate the compliment, I'm not as brave as I'd like to be. If I was, I'd say what I REALLY think.
2.21.2008 12:23pm
Dan R:
Felix's comment is right on.

Additionally, Ilya, I urge you to compare apples to apples. If you are going to include incarceration and execution rates as part of "health care" statistics for Cuba, then you have to do the same for the U.S.

The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Ilya says you had a 5.6% chance of being incarerated "at the start of Castro's regime" - 40 years ago!
In contrast, if you are an African American male in his twenties, you have a 10% chance of being incarcerated in the U.S. - today!

The U.S. has worse health care outcomes than Cuba on every objective measure(longevity, infant mortality, etc.).
If you add in the fact that, today, we incarcerate more of our population than Cuba does, then by Ilya's reasoning, the U.S. fares even worse in comparison with Cuba.

Overall, my point is that it's totally irrelevant to include incarceration and execution rates in a "health care" statistic. But if you insist on using that methodology, you should apply it to all countries, as they incarcerate people today - not 40 years ago.
2.21.2008 12:38pm
anonthu:
And while I appreciate the compliment, I'm not as brave as I'd like to be. If I was, I'd say what I REALLY think.

What's holding you back? Are federal agents at the door?

Unless your speech involves plotting an actual crime (as to distinguish from the types of "think-crimes" for which Castro's opponents were imprisoned), I'll go out on a limb here and tell you that you won't be imprisoned for it.
2.21.2008 12:38pm
anonthu:
@Felix: good point, but didn't Ilya address this in the post? (4th paragraph). Sure, I'll accept healthcare has improved (at a minimum, accessibility). But the hypothetical question is, how much tyranny would you accept for the best hospitals in the world?

I'm speaking of "tyranny" here on a sliding scale (all the way from taxation to punishment of "political crimes"), in the spirit of Professor de la Paz:

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
2.21.2008 12:51pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I'm also interested in his evidence for the counter-factual that the Castro regime would have withered away if US policies towards Cuba had been different.

The collapse of all of the Soviet Union's client states in Eastern Europe in 1989 followed by the collapse of the USSR itself two and a half years later. Heck, even the economic reforms (if not followed by any meaningful political freedom) in China demonstrates that completely isolating a regime is the wrong way to get it to change.

When Castro came to power in Cuba, the country was the most economically advanced and fastest developing in the region.

While you may think that a Kleptocracy is a nice way to run a society, one where the Mafia (not figuratively or even behind the scenes but literally) controls the reins of power and is operating freely, I hardly consider that the basis of a "economically advanced" society. By the time of the revolution, Meyer Lansky practically ran the country.
2.21.2008 1:17pm
MDJD2B (mail):
When I was in college, I heard a lecture from an expert on China-- I think it was Ross Terrill-- talk favorably about how the Chinese government arrested all the prostitutes and thereby eliminated venereal disease in China.

Having seen a significant number of recent Chinese immigrants with HPV-related diseases, I am inclined to doubt the accuracy of this old (1960's) claim. In fact, I doubted its accuracy then. I doubt the accuracy of any vital statistics from closed societies.
2.21.2008 1:18pm
MDJD2B (mail):
Here is a link to an abstract from an old Chinese medical journal that makes the claim:

http://www.popline.org/docs/0484/004644.html

Google Mao tse tung and "venereal disease"
2.21.2008 1:24pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
but that does not change the fact that health care and education did improve in Cuba.
Once again, those aren't "facts" at all, but claims made by the Cuban dictatorship.

It's astonishing to me that people who would scream "liar" if Bush said that it was sunny outside will take at face value statements made by an authoritarian government with no independent press or other check on its credibility.
2.21.2008 1:36pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The collapse of all of the Soviet Union's client states in Eastern Europe in 1989 followed by the collapse of the USSR itself two and a half years later. Heck, even the economic reforms (if not followed by any meaningful political freedom) in China demonstrates that completely isolating a regime is the wrong way to get it to change.
But Cuba wasn't "completely isolated." Only the U.S. did so. Other countries do business with Cuba, to the extent that there's any business worth doing with Cuba.
2.21.2008 1:38pm
federal farmer (www):
<blockquote>
Certainly brave of you to speak against our leaders in this "brutal regime".
</blockquote>

Yep, imagine trying that in Venezuela.
2.21.2008 1:44pm
Dan R:
Mr. Nieporent says:


but that does not change the fact that health care and education did improve in Cuba.


Once again, those aren't "facts" at all, but claims made by the Cuban dictatorship.

It's astonishing to me that people who would scream "liar" if Bush said that it was sunny outside will take at face value statements made by an authoritarian government with no independent press or other check on its credibility.


And it's astonishing to me that someone would make a bald assertion like Mr. Nieporent did without checking his facts. In contrast to his assertion, many independent press organizations and NGOs have concluded that health care outcomes are better in Cuba than in the U.S.:

CNN, citing NGO report
OECD report
Businessweek, citing Commonwealth fund report
NY Times, citing C.I.A. World Factbook

etc.
2.21.2008 1:56pm
Paul from Jefferson (mail):
I know that no one is apt to change their mind about Castro, but I, at least, find it interesting that Batista was of mixed race and once won a free, multi-party election for President and Castro is a Spanish-Cuban who never won an open and free election. Also, I would note that, while Cubans are 100% literate, they have no freedom of the press or media.
2.21.2008 1:57pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
And it's astonishing to me that someone would make a bald assertion like Mr. Nieporent did without checking his facts. In contrast to his assertion, many independent press organizations and NGOs have concluded that health care outcomes are better in Cuba than in the U.S.:
Free clue: where do you think those organizations get their data? I'll speak slowly, so you can grasp it: from the Cuban government.
2.21.2008 2:03pm
LM (mail):
anonthu,

If you read it as claiming that Castro's faults and virtues were evenly balanced, then I agree with you

Seriously? Or am I misreading your post?

I can't say whether you're misreading it, but you certainly misrepresented it. Out of context it appears I think Castro's faults and virtues were evenly balanced, when my point was the opposite. I was responding to tvk, who wrote:

This might be a cheap shot, but I just can't find any traction with the line that "Castro suppressed freedom, but at least he improved health care." What next? "The Nazis were crazy genocidists, but at least they ended the Depression?"

To which I replied,

Godwin's Law and the false Castro/Hitler equivalence aside, the truth of the line depends on what you think "but at least he..." means. If you read it as claiming that Castro's faults and virtues were evenly balanced, then I agree with you (though I bet many Cubans wouldn't). But if it means you don't serve the lesson of tyranny with half-truths, then it makes sense to me.

But of course throwing the baby out with the bathwater is a past time that unites ideologues of every stripe.
2.21.2008 2:36pm
rarango (mail):
Dan R: cure rate after medical intervention is considerably better measure of the health care system; a measure such as longevity correlates only very weakly to "health care" and much more strongly with life style choices, SES measures, and even the number of vehicle miles driven (death from traffic accidents as in the US). Infant mortality stats are totally dependent on honest reporting of data in accordance with WHO definitions of live births.
2.21.2008 2:39pm
anonthu:
LM: Got it, thanks. I missed the context and mis-read and (as a result) mis-represented your post...
2.21.2008 2:52pm
Dan R:
Nieporent makes another unsupported bald assertion:

where do you think those organizations get their data? I'll speak slowly, so you can grasp it: from the Cuban government.

Link? Source? Any basis at all for this statement other than your imagination?
2.21.2008 3:08pm
LM (mail):
anonthu,

No problem.
2.21.2008 3:10pm
Dan R:
rarango:

cure rate after medical intervention is considerably better measure of the health care system

Hmm... I agree that there are problems with using longevity and infant mortality as measures of a nation's health care outcomes.
But (1) those are the only data we have. I'd love to see a study using other measures.
and (2) I disagree that "cure rate after medical intervention" is a better measure of a "health care system." This measure ignores two key factors: the effectiveness of preventative medicine within the health care system, and the availability of access to health care "interventions."
2.21.2008 3:15pm
rarango (mail):
Dan: I agree that cure rate has its limits as a measure and speaks more directly to medical intervention (detection and treatment) than it does to access to health care at all or prevention. There are some studies out there; unfortunately most of them deal with third world countries; in those studies, public health infrastructure which normally includes prevention, not surprisingly, correlates positively as does literacy rate (the latter with respect to infant mortality). This studies are available on Pub Med which is a good source that google doesnt always pick up.
2.21.2008 3:39pm
Felix Sulla:
anonthu: I actually think Professor Somin used the fourth paragraph as a sleight-of-hand to disguise or at least mitigate the fact that he was attempting to make an inapt and misleading point. It is one thing, and in my view intellectually honest, to say, "Maybe health care and education improved in Cuba, but the fact of the matter is that it was/is a repressive and ultimately corrupt and evil regime." What Professor Somin's post is actually arguing is, in a nutshell, "No, health care was not great in Cuba because look at how many people they executed and incarcerated! That's not good health care or education!" Whatever else that argument may be, it is certainly not intellectually honest.
2.21.2008 3:50pm
Felix Sulla:
Dan R: Mr. Nieporent rarely lets the facts (as they can be sourced outside his imagination) get in the way of his ideological point. Thus, for example, if you were to assert that Havana is the capital of Cuba, that Castro's first name is Fidel, and this did not serve his overarching ideology, he merely needs to imagine otherwise and assert that it is the Cuban government telling us this. Backing up your own assertion with third-party or objective information is just proof that you live in the reality-based world, or else are suffering from Castro's terrible long-range mind-control ray.

Hmmm, I always wondered why I thought rum and Diet Coke was the nectar of the gods...;-)
2.21.2008 3:55pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
But Cuba wasn't "completely isolated." Only the U.S. did so. Other countries do business with Cuba, to the extent that there's any business worth doing with Cuba.

No but to the extent that Cuba is isolated, the regime has been able to use that isolation to blame its problems (even when they are they are of its own creation) on "Yankee imperialism" and the embargo. It has enabled Castro to have a convenient scapegoat.
2.21.2008 4:07pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Sure, people. You think the College Board administers tests to Cubans. Hint: go look at the original sources for these reports. They cite UN reports such as the Demographic Yearbook. Then go look at how the UN compiles those reports. They ask the national governments.


JFT, certainly Castro uses the embargo as a scapegoat, but I think history demonstrates pretty clearly that politicians do not need justification to create scapegoats. If real grievances are nonexistent, imaginary ones will do just as well.
2.21.2008 4:35pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Ilya says you had a 5.6% chance of being incarerated "at the start of Castro's regime" - 40 years ago!
In contrast, if you are an African American male in his twenties, you have a 10% chance of being incarcerated in the U.S. - today!


I think the difference between a 5.6% chance of being imprisoned as a political prisoner in a labor camp is significantly different from any specific chance of being imprisoned as a drug pusher, violent criminal, or other felon in a normal prison.

As for Mr. Armando Lago's statistics, though, I would advise people remain rather cautious. While I am extremely doubtful of the oft-stated 7,000-12,000 deaths related to the Castro regime, given a 1998 Associated Press report citing up to five thousand executions alone, Lago's statistics assume more than 80,000 disappearances at sea, and that's over the last few decades. Especially before his work can be heavily reviewed, there are better sources.
2.21.2008 4:46pm
Felix Sulla:
David: Then you are, of course, disclaiming any actual knowledge about anything related to Cuba and we can rely on you never entering one of these discussions again? Or else you will tell us which magic mirror you get your Cuba facts from?
2.21.2008 4:48pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Or else you will tell us which magic mirror you get your Cuba facts from?
I don't cite Cuban demographic facts.
2.21.2008 5:45pm
MatthewM (mail):
For a libertarian blog, the number of Castro apologists here is amazing. There really is something weird in this country that has made so many people defenders of Castro...

To all of those citing other Latin American dictatorships for the proposition that "Castro isn't so bad, look at the neighbors," why don't you take a look in the mirror -- you only attack those dictatorships, and never defend them by saying "they're not so bad, look at Cuba." In particular, no leftist ever defended the struggling El Salvaroran democracy by comparing it to Cuba.

The assertions that Cuba's health care is "better than the U.S." are laughable. Cuba's wealth is little greater than Haiti's. Do you really think that such a poor country has great health care? If you do, I've got a lot more I can sell to you... And by the way, even taking Cuban health statistics as true, it's outcomes are similar to those of Mexico, when Cuba 50 years ago had better outcomes than Mexico.
2.21.2008 7:12pm
michael (mail) (www):
No doubt in 15 years the 'Droit de seigneur' story about Castro's rule in Cuba will be available at your local Border's. Animals live longer if they are kept to half desired rations; I understand there was a dip in European cancers attibutable to food scarcity during WWII. I wonder how much of any improvement has been due to limited caloric intake in Cuba.
2.22.2008 1:13am
davod (mail):
"Animals live longer if they are kept to half desired rations; I understand there was a dip in European cancers attibutable to food scarcity during WWII. I wonder how much of any improvement has been due to limited caloric intake in Cuba."

Some years ago a nutritionist suggested that prisoners of the Japanese working on the railroad had the diet provided at the time to thank for their longevity.

Thankfully, Weary Dunlop, an Australian doctor who treated the prisoners during their captivity, was alive to place the "nutrional" diet in a little perspective.
2.22.2008 6:26am