Fidel Castro’s Cuban Legacy: True Democracy Of  Good Health Care,  Low Infant Mortality, High Literacy & Ecosocialism


Vale Fidel Castro (1926-2016). Despite decades of illegal US sanctions, and an average per capita GDP of only circa $7,000 as compared to $56,000 for the US, Cuba has good primary health care, 100% literacy, a Western life expectancy, and an under-5 infant mortality of 6 deaths per 1,000 live births, the same as for the US. True democracy fundamentally means expression of the will of the people and in Castro’s one-party Cuba that has meant  ecosocialism and the survival of infants for a decent, healthy, literate, educated and long life.

Fidel Castro’s socialist Cuba has been a model for civilized development in the Third World that respects the fundamental human right, the right to life, and is in ideological opposition to ecologically unsustainable, greed-driven, neoliberal globalization that disproportionately rewards the One Percenters at the expense of Humanity and the Biosphere.  The achievements of  Fidel Castro’s socialist Cuba are outlined below:

  1. Fidel Castro and socialist Cuba survived criminal US hostility, terrorism, invasion and economic blockade.

Fidel Castro and his fellow socialist revolutionaries overthrew the US-backed Batista dictatorship in 1959. Fidel Castro (Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz) subsequently governed the Republic of Cuba for 47 years as Prime Minister (1959 to 1976)  and thence as President (1976 to 2006) [1, 2].  The US emplaced an illegal economic blockade against Cuba in 1961 that still persists despite a recent partial diplomatic rapprochement by US President Barack Obama that extreme right-wing US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to reverse. The US embargo prevents exports to Cuba except for food and medicine under threat of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.  Since 1992 the UN General Assembly has passed a resolution every year condemning the embargo as violating the Charter of the United Nations and international law. Thus, for example,  in 2014 out of the 193 nations of the UN General Assembly,  188 countries voted to condemn the US embargo, with   the US and Apartheid Israel voting against and the US lackey Pacific island micro- nations Palau, Marshall Islands and Micronesia abstaining. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have condemned the US embargo [3]. The US under President John Kennedy responded militarily to Castro’s Cuba with the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. When Castro permitted Soviet nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba, US President John Kennedy brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation and the missiles were withdrawn [1, 2] . The CIA and  CIA-backed Cuban exiles unsuccessfully mounted about 600 criminal plots to assassinate Fidel Castro [4, 5].  Cuba backed revolutionary movements in Africa and Latin America to which the US responded with war criminal invasions, the backing of extreme  right-wing dictatorships, and the training and funding of death squads, with Fidel Castro’s fellow revolutionary   Che Guevara being a notable victim [2, 6, 7].

  1. US and Cuban human rights and incarceration in context.

From a human rights perspective, a one-party, Communist Cuba can be legitimately criticized for one-party rule, suppression of dissent and imprisonment of dissidents. However those actions by the Castro regime must necessarily be seen in the context of the sustained economic embargo, violent hostility, state terrorism, non-state terrorism and endless subversion in relation to Cuba by an exceptionalist, serial invader  and serial war criminal US “rogue state” that regards itself as above international law and  indeed dominates and subverts the whole world (2, 6, 7).  In terms of incarceration rate measured as “prisoners per 100,000 people”  the US is a world leader with 693  as compared to Cuba’s 510, Iceland’s 45  and US-backed Apartheid Israel’s 265 (37,300 if one includes all Occupied Palestinians and 15,900 if one simply considers the 2 million Palestinians imprisoned in the Gaza Concentration Camp) [8, 9]. The US has 4% of the world’s  population but has 25% of the world’s circa 10 million prisoners [10]. Millions of Americans are excluded by felony laws from voting in the US Establishment’s 2-party electoral farce [11-13]. Free speech is vital for social advance but  a new democratic socialist Cuba would need to protect democracy by promotion of vigorous scientific and other expert, scholarly opinion, and mechanisms to stop Big Money corporate  subversion that has turned Western Democracies into Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies, and by way of example, turned the British parliamentary Labour Party into neoliberal, Blair-ite New Labour.

  1. Cuban true democracy versus US plutocracy.

As amply demonstrated by the recent US Presidential Race, the US is dominated by the rich One Percenters that are variously described as the Establishment, the Deep State or the Oligarchy. The US Establishment  and its captive Mainstream media overwhelmingly backed serial war criminal  and neoliberal Hillary Clinton in the recent US presidential election.   Clinton’s opponent, neoliberal billionaire Donald Trump,  portrayed himself as an opponent of the Establishment and defender of “ordinary Americans”.   However the fewer  than 50% of “ordinary American” voters  who voted for Trump will eventually realize that they have voted for a  massive, circa  $1 trillion per year tax cut for the rich, a hypothetical economic improvement driven by increased but pointless military expenditure, a free hand for terracidal fossil fuel corporations, terracidal climate change inaction, health insurance uncertainties with an adumbrated abolition of Obamacare, and, of course, racism, bigotry, misogyny and the winding back of hard-won rights of women and minorities. The Establishment  won with  Trump just as it would have won with Clinton. “Ordinary Americans” would have done vastly better with the pro-environment, free college education and universal health care provided by the socialist policies of Bernie Sanders (eliminated with the help of the Democrat Establishment) or by  the socialist program of the Mainstream media-ignored Dr Jill Stein (American Green Party) who gained a mere 1% of the vote [14].

Communist Cuba is ruled by the Communist Party for the benefit of all Cubans whereas the US is ruled by and for the One Percenter Establishment. In the US Democracy has become a Plutocracy, Kleptocracy, Murdochracy, Lobbyocracy, Corporatocracy and Dollarocracy in which Big Money buys people, politicians, parties policies, public perception of reality, political power and hence more private profit for the plutocrats. “Manufacturing consent” by One Percenter-owned Mainstream media ensures that of those Americans who are not excluded from voting and who actually bother to vote, nearly all will vote for the Establishment’s  Republican or Democrat candidates [14].

Indeed one must consider what we mean by “democracy”.  In its most profound sense, “democracy” or “rule by the people” surely means acceding to the most fundamental wishes of the people e.g.  a long,  healthy and fulfilling life  and survival of one’s children, goals that are achieved by peace, good governance, equity, good health care, 100% literacy and good education.  In this sense, altruistic socialism under Fidel Castro provided “true democracy” for the Cuban people by delivering on these fundamental wishes of ordinary people [15].

  1. US imperialism  involves mass infanticide  but US-impoverished socialist Cuba has remarkably achieved the same low infant mortality as the wealthy US.

It is instructive to consider  “under-5 infant  mortality” in units of “under-5 year old infants per 1,000 births” (2015) [16]  and “per capita GDP” in US dollars ($; UN, 2015) [17] (a) for Cuba and the US,  (b) for Caribbean  countries invaded by the US  in living memory  (Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, and Panama), (c) for Caribbean countries subject to violent, US-backed civil conflict in living memory (Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and (d) for other countries invaded by the US in living memory.

(a) Cuba (7 under-5 year old infants per 1,000 births; $7,274 per capita GDP; unsuccessfully invaded by the US in 1961), US (7; $54,306). By successfully resisting US invasion and US embargo and by good governance, good education and good health care,  US-impoverished Cuba has achieved the same low infant mortality as the wealthy US.

(b) Caribbean  countries invaded by the US  in living memory – Dominican Republic (28; $6,147; invaded by the US in 1965) ,Grenada (13; $8,313; invaded by the US in 1983); Haiti (77; $813; invaded by the US in 2004);  Panama (20; $12,712; invaded by the US in 1989).

(c) Caribbean countries subject to violent, US-backed civil conflict in living memory – Colombia (25; $7,904; US-backed civil war, 1964-2016), El Salvador (20; $4,120; US-backed civil war, 1972-1992), Guatemala (32; $3,673; US-backed civil war, 1954-1999), Honduras (40; $2,449; US-backed civil war, US-backed military rule from the 1920s to the 1980s; US-subverted “democracy” that violently subverted its neighbours for the US,  1982-2009; 2009, US-backed coup), and Nicaragua ( 24; $1,963; US-backed civil war, 1979-1992).

(d) Other countries variously invaded by US forces since 1950 – Afghanistan (93; $668; US-backed coup in 1978 leading to war with US-backed jihadis versus Russian invaders and their allies, 1979- 1989; US occupation, 2001-present); Cambodia (30; $1,095; US war, 1965-1975, that precipitated the Cambodian Genocide, 1976-1979),  Iran (16; $6,391; US-backed coup and installation of pro-US Shah, 1953-1979; failed US military raid, 1979; US-backed Iraq-Iran War, 1980-1988; deadly US and thence UN sanctions against zero-nuclear-weapons Iran  on behalf of 400-nuclear-weapons Apartheid Israel, 1979-2016 ), Iraq (36; $6,391; US-backed Iraq-Iran War, 1980-1988; US-led Gulf War, 1990-1991; US-led UN Sanctions, 1990-2003; US Alliance invasion, 2003-2011; US Alliance involved in Iraq civil war, 2014-present); Laos (54; $1,756; US subversion and war, 1958-1975, with saturation bombing by the US, 1964-1975), Libya (27; $6,602; France-UK-US (FUKUS) destruction of Libya, formerly the most prosperous African country, 2011- present), North Korea (26; $696; US Alliance Korean War 1950-1953 with 28% of the population killed; continuing threat and sanctions); Pakistan (83; $1,358; US bombing, 2001-present including drone attacks, 2004-present; US invasion to allegedly kill Osama bin Laden, 2011), Philippines (29; $2,871; US special forces  making war in Mindanao, 2012-present despite current Philippine Government opposition), Syria (19; $1,418; various key US Alliance support for Syrian rebels including  ISIS, 2011- present), Vietnam (23, $2,015; US Vietnam War, 1955-1975), Yemen (70; $1,821; US involved with Saudi-led Alliance war in Yemen, 2010- present). One notes that US-backed Apartheid Israel (4; $38,261) violently rules over Occupied Palestine (23; $2,811).

It should be noted that (i) the US has  bases in about 75 countries; (ii) the US actively subverts all countries; (iii), the US has been involved in numerous civil wars in Africa, Latin America and Asia;  (iv), the joint US-Australia Pine Gap electronic spying facility in Central Australia targets US drone strikes in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; (v)  40 million Asians have died from violence or imposed deprivation in post-1950 US Asian wars; (vi) about 32 million Muslims have died from violence (5 million) or from imposed deprivation (27 million) in 20 countries invaded by the US Alliance  in the US War on Muslims (aka the US War on Terror) since the US Government’s 9-11 false flag atrocity in 2001 [9, 18-22].

  1. Zero annual avoidable deaths in Cuba, China, Japan and Western countries.

For a country in a given period, avoidable mortality (avoidable death, excess mortality, excess death, deaths that should not have happened) is the difference between the actual deaths in a country and the deaths expected for a peaceful, decently governed country with the same demographics [2]. The UN Population Division provides detailed demographic data for essentially every country in the world since 1950 i.e. data on  population, death rate, birth rate, population breakdown, under-5 infant mortality rate [16]. For “good outcome”, low avoidable mortality,  high birth rate Developing countries, the death rate is about 4 deaths per 1000 population per year and accordingly for high birth rate Developing countries “avoidable death rate” (in “deaths per 1000 population per year”)  = actual death rate – 4 .Using data from the  UN Population Division it has been possible to calculate 1950-2005 “avoidable deaths” (avoidable mortality, excess deaths, excess mortality, deaths that did not have to happen)  for every country in the World. The 1950-2005 avoidable mortality totals [and independently estimated 1950-2005 under-5 infant mortality data in square brackets] are 1,303 million [878 million] (the World); 1,248 million [853 million] (the non-European World]; 55 million [25 million] (the European World); and 0.6 billion  [0.4 billion] (the Muslim World) – a Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust, a Third World Holocaust and a Muslim Holocaust that is 100 times greater than the World War 2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) or the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengali Holocaust, the man-made 1943-1945 Bengal Famine in which the British with Australian complicity deliberately starved 6-7 million Indians to death in Bengal and the adjoining provinces of Assam, Orissa and Bihar [23, 24]. On this estimation basis, “annual avoidable death” as a percentage of population is approximately  0%   in socialist Cuba, pluralist  China, Japan and in Western countries, but is 0.4% in South Asia, 0.6% for Indigenous Australians, and 1.0% for non-Arab Africa [2].

  1. Cuban-style altruistic governance and a global annual wealth tax could abolish the Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust.

Castro’s Cuba provides an excellent model of rational, humane and altruistic governance and for how humanity can stop the Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust in which 17 million people die avoidably each year from deprivation in the Third World (minus China) [2].  Thus the Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust is happening on Spaceship Earth with the flight deck under the control of the 10% richest who have about 90% of the wealth of the World and who in turn are controlled by One Percenters who own about 50% of the wealth of the World. An annual global wealth tax of about 5% would yield about US$20 trillion annually and enable raising all countries to annual per capita incomes equivalent to the circa $7,000 per person per year of China and Cuba, relatively poor countries for which annual avoidable mortality is zero (0) due to competent and  altruistic governance [25].  This is a feasible option for stopping the Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust. Indeed a progressive annual wealth tax ranging up to 10% for the richest has been proposed for democracy and economic sustainability  reasons by French economist Professor Thomas Piketty in his important book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”  [26, 27].  France has an annual wealth tax of up to 1.5% and for 1,400 years Islam has had an annual wealth tax (zakat) of 2.5% as one of its 5 Pillars of Wisdom  [28].

  1. Fidel Castro’s legacy of eco-socialism.

Fidel Castro has provided a final legacy of eco-socialism for a world acutely threatened by man-made global warming, a worsening  climate emergency and a worsening climate genocide.   Fidel Castro’s Cuba has demonstrated that competent and  altruistic  governance in a socialist society can provide a decent  life for all with good   health care, 100% literacy, a Western life expectancy, and very low  infant mortality in a country with a per capita GDP of only about $7,000,  or about 8 times less than that of the US. However economies need to be not only equitable and energy efficient but also sustainable in relation to our acutely threatened Biosphere.  Environmental sustainability  is the great existential  challenge to Humanity today, and must be met by an environmentally sound eco-socialism.  Fidel Castro on the very survival of human society threatened by First World-imposed global warming (Copenhagen, 2009): “The youth is more interested than anyone else in the future. Until very recently, the discussion revolved around the kind of society we would have. Today, the discussion centers on whether human society will survive. These are not dramatic phrases. We must get used to the true facts. Hope is the last thing human beings can relinquish. With truthful arguments, men and women of all ages, especially young people, have waged an exemplary battle at the Summit and taught the world a great lesson” [29].

  1. Socialist Cuba’s high literacy, high female literacy and truth-telling.

A massive achievement of the 1959 Cuban revolution was to rapidly increase literacy. The Cuban  Literacy Campaign got into high gear in 1961 and subsequently  had a big global impact  [30].  Literacy is now 99.7%  (i.e. almost 100% ) in socialist Cuba as compared to 60.7% in US-invaded and Western-occupied Haiti [31]. High  female literacy is crucial for good primary  health care and infant care, and this is reflected in the Western-style low infant mortality,  zero avoidable mortality and long life expectancy in relatively poor Cuba.  High literacy is vital for science-based rational risk management that is crucial for societal safety, and successively involves (a) accurate information, (b) science-based analysis , and (c) science-informed systemic change to minimize risk. Such risk management at both societal  and global levels is crucial for effective climate change action in a world in which catastrophic plus 2 degrees Centigrade temperature rise is now unavoidable [32, 33].

About 14% of Americans are functionally illiterate to the extent that  they are unable to perform everyday basic prose reading and prose writing [34, 35] and one supposes that a much higher percentage of Americans, perhaps  circa 50%, can’t read and write prose properly (e.g. 46% of Australians are functionally illiterate in that sense and 53% are functionally innumerate) [36].  This functional illiteracy has appalling consequences e.g. a recent poll found that 42% of Americans believed that  God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so, that a further 31% believed that man evolved but with God guiding  the process, and that only 19% believed in human evolution with God having no part in the process [37]. One suppose that it was such  functionally illiterate,  scientifically illiterate and impoverished “ordinary Americans” who voted in droves for an anti-science, climate change denying, neoliberal billionaire  Donald Trump. About 1.7 million “ordinary Americans” die preventably each year from all sorts of causes from smoking to suicide, but successive US Governments have committed to the fiscal perversion of a  long-term accrual cost of $6 trillion   for the US War on Terror, committing   trillions of dollars to killing millions of Muslims abroad rather than keeping millions of Americans alive at home [38, 39]. In his movie “Sicko” , Michael Moore dramatized this  depraved indifference  of the US Establishment  to the lives and deaths “ordinary Americans” when he took some seriously ill 9-11 first responder heroes to Cuba for free medical treatment that they could not access at home [40].

Concluding comments.

Fidel Castro (1926-2016) not only liberated Cuba from a vicious, US-backed dictator but also liberated the Cuban people from poverty, corruption, illiteracy, poor health, untimely infant death and untimely death in general. Fidel Castro’s Cuba has provided a good model for Third World development. Indeed Cuba’s example of good, altruistic governance shows how Humanity can end the Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust in which 17 million people die avoidably from deprivation each year. Under extraordinary  pressure from relentless US state terrorism,  Cuba has been a one-party state but free speech is vital for scholarship, science and social advance.  A democratic eco-socialism must have free dissent but needs robust, science-based truth-telling and strong mechanisms to constrain corporate perversion of democracy.  Cuban-style high economic efficiency (excellent outcomes for a low per capita income country) coupled with mandatory environmental sustainability and equity, point toward an eco-socialism-based alternative to the neoliberal, corporate  greed that is existentially threatening Humanity and the Biosphere.


[1]. “Fidel Castro”, Wikipedia: .

[2]. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, 2007, a book that includes  an avoidable mortality-related history of every country from Neolithic times and is now available for free perusal  on the web:  .

[3]. “United States embargo against Cuba”, Wikipedia: .

[4]. “638 ways to kill Castro”, Wikipedia:

[5]. “Assassination attempts on Fidel Castro”, Wikipedia: .

[6]. William Blum, “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”, 2000.

[7]. Philip Agree, “Inside the Company. CIA Diary”, 1975.

[8]. “List of countries by incarceration rate”, Wikipedia: .

[9]. “Palestinian Genocide” : .

[10]. “Incarceration in the United States”, Wikipedia: .

[11]. Michelle  Alexander, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”, The New Press, 2010.

[12]. Michelle  Alexander, “The war on drugs and the New Jim Crow”, Race, Poverty, Environment, Vol. 17, No. 1 | Spring 2010: .

[13]. Gideon Polya, “Truth & Boycotts, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) Can Overcome Huge Inequities Suffered By African Americans Under American Apartheid”,  Countercurrents, 29 September, 2014: .

[14]. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, “Manufacturing Consent”, Pantheon, New York, 2002.

[15]. Sam Jones, “Castro’s legacy and the envy of many nations: social care in Cuba”, Guardian, 28 November 2016: .

[16]. UN Population Division, World Population Prospects, 2015 revision: .

[17]. “List of per capita nominal GDP for countries and dependencies”, Wikipedia: .

[18]. “Muslim Holocaust Muslim Genocide”: .

[19]. Iraqi Holocaust, Iraqi Genocide”: .

[20]. “Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide”: .

[21]. “Experts; US did 9-11”:  .

[22]. Gideon Polya,“Paris Atrocity Context: 27 Million Muslim Avoidable  Deaths From Imposed Deprivation In 20 Countries Violated By US Alliance Since 9-11”,  Countercurrents, 22 November, 2015: .

[23]. Gideon Polya (2008), “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2008 edition that is now available for free perusal on the web:  ).

[24]. Bengali Holocaust (WW2 Bengal Famine) writings of Gideon Polya”, Gideon Polya: .

[25]. Gideon Polya, “4 % Annual Global Wealth Tax To Stop The 17 Million Deaths Annually”, Countercurrents, 27 June, 2014: .

[26]. Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” ( Harvard University Press, 2014).

[27]. Gideon Polya, “Key Book Review: “Capital In The Twenty-First Century” By Thomas Piketty”, Countercurrents, 01 July, 2014: .

[28]. “1% ON 1%: annual one percent tax on One Percenter wealth”: .

[29]. Fidel Castro, “The truth of what happened at Copenhagen Summit “, Countercurrents, 21 December 2009: .

[30]. “Cuban literacy campaign”, Wikipedia: .

[31]. “List of countries by literacy rate”, Wikipedia: .

[32]. “Are we doomed?”: .

[33]. “Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe”: .

[34]. “Functional illiteracy”, Wikipedia:

[35]. Robert Roy Britt, “14 percent of U.S. adults can’t read”, LiveScience, 10 January 2009:

[36]. Josh Fear, “Choice overload. Australians coping with financial decisions”. The Australia Institute, Discussion paper 99, section 3.1 :  .

[37]. Yasmine Hafiz, “Over 40% of Americans believe in creationism, survey says”,  Huffington Post, 6 March 2014: .

[38]. Gideon Polya , “West Ignores 11 Million Muslim War Deaths & 23 Million Preventable American Deaths Since US Government’s False-flag 9-11 Atrocity”, Countercurrents, 9 September, 2015: .

[39]. Gideon Polya, “American Holocaust, Millions Of Untimely American Deaths And $40 Trillion Cost Of Israel To Americans”,  27 August, 2013:

[40]. Michael Moore, “Sicko”, a movie.

Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds” (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007:

) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see:  ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others:  ;  Gideon Polya:  ; Gideon Polya Writing: ; Gideon Polya, Wikipedia: ) . When words fail one can say it in pictures – for images of Gideon Polya’s huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: and .


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