By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Aug 6, 2010 10:17 AM
The Central Intelligence Agency, a ruthless enforcer of Wall Street’s drive for profits, publishes “The World Factbook.” It gives updated statistics for every country, some of which measure quality of life and societal health, such as life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy, unemployment and industrial production. In this series, Workers World examines some surprising conclusions, all using the CIA’s own statistics. Even though these statistics often understate gains compared to United Nations figures, they can’t help but show that countries benefit by breaking with imperialism.
In Latin America, the CIA’s “World Factbook” confirms that socialism stands triumphant. The island nation of Cuba, having begun constructing socialism after the 1959 revolution, stands above all other countries in terms of quality of life.
The infant mortality rate is the count of children per 1,000 live births who die before reaching one year of age. Not a single country in Latin America has a lower infant mortality rate than socialist Cuba, which is lower even than that of the wealthy United States. This is a testament both to the Cuban health care system, which is publicly operated and controlled by working people and their organizations, and Cuba’s attention to public health.
The educational system in Cuba, like the vast majority of the economy, is prioritized by the government and subject to popular, democratic control. As a result, Cuba stands far above the rest of Latin America in literacy, with 99.8 percent considered literate, even slightly higher than the U.S.’s 99.0 percent.
Compare this to Honduras, where a repressive military dictatorship was recently installed in a coup d’état backed by Washington. Literacy in free-market, U.S.-dominated Honduras is 80 percent.
The life expectancy of Cubans is above every other country in South and Central America, and much higher than in the nearby Dominican Republic. In nearby Guatemala, where U.S.-backed paramilitaries have brutally put down all attempts to build a world free of capitalism, the life expectancy is only 70.59 years, compared to socialist Cuba’s 77.64 years.
Amidst the world economic crisis, Cuba’s rate of industrial production has dropped by only 1 percent, according to the Factbook. In the United States, production fell by 5.5 percent, and in the Britain, 9.8 percent.
This is probably due to the fact that the Cuban economy is not dominated by Western markets, but planned according to human need. As a result, an economic crisis in the West did not force the Cuban workers to suffer at the hands of Wall Street.
The statistics confirm what Karl Marx and countless others after him have said numerous times: that without the chaos of the capitalist market, which he dubbed the “anarchy of production,” a planned economy can better serve the people and provide for a good quality of life.
Next: Western domination vs. national liberation in Africa.
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