Cuba Focus: The Unfulfilled Promises of the Castro Regime

Jennifer Hernandez in UM’s Cuba Focus:

The Unfulfilled Promises of the Castro Regime

For over 50 years the Castro regime has been making predictions and promises to the Cuban people that have never been fulfilled. Following are some of the more notorious and outrageous:

  • “In a few years, our standard of living will be above that of the United States and Russia.” Fidel Castro, February 16, 1959.

o According to the 2013 Human Development Report of the United Nations, Cuba is far from the standard of living in the United States and Russia.
o Most Cubans still average less than $15 a month, struggle to get food, and live in houses in poor conditions due to lack of material and the costs associated with repair.

  • “All rights and freedoms will be reinstituted including absolute freedom of press.” Fidel Castro, January 3, 1959.

o The Castro regime is known for its censorship and attacks on the press. In 2012, the island ranked in the bottom 8 of the Freedom of the Press list of countries “not free” together with Iran, North Korea and Belarus.
o Law 88 is one of the many laws in effect employed to jail journalists with opinions that differ from the regime.

  • “We won the battle of the eggs. From now on, the people will count with 60 million eggs monthly.” Fidel Castro, January 1965.

o Egg production in Cuba is very low. According to government statistics, in 2010 Cuba produced a little over 220 million eggs.

  • “The ten million ton (sugar) harvest will be reached.” Fidel Castro, October 1969.

o Cuba’s sugar industry has significantly declined and many mills have been closed.
o Although Cuba’s National Statistics Office has not published nationwide sugar production since 2005, numbers published in Granma estimate that 2011-2012 sugar production was less than 1.5 million tons, barely enough for internal consumption.

  • “It won’t be the 10 million tons of sugar, but the almost 4 million tons of honey that will help develop the country’s cattle industry. We will use honey to feed the cattle and we will become meat exporters.” Fidel Castro, June 1965.

o The 2008 Cuba’s Food and Agriculture Situation Report of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed that the island experienced a 20% cattle decline in comparison to the number in 1959.
o In January of 2013, Cuba’s News Agency (Agencia Cubana de Noticias) reported that the island produced close to 880 thousand tons of honey and Cuba has never been a meat exporter.

  • “By 1970 the island will have 5,000 cattle experts and over 8 million cows…there will be enough milk to fill Havana’s Harbor.” Fidel Castro, December 1966.

o Production in Cuba has faced several challenges particularly after the end of Soviet subsidies.
o The Ubre Blanca was Castro’s attempt to genetically engineer a cow capable of producing more than 100 liters of milk a day to solve milk scarcity. The cow did not fulfill Cubans’ needs and after its death attempts to clone it have failed.
o According to the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations, in 2009 Cuba had the second lowest milk consumption in the Western hemisphere. Haiti had the lowest.
o The island’s rationing system excludes milk for children over 7 years old, which can cause bone deficiencies.
o In 2012, Juventud Rebelde, a government newspaper, reported that milk production had decreased by more than 30 million liters due to equipment lack of maintenance.

  • “We will dry up the Cienega de Zapata and will turn it into productive land.” Fidel Castro, October 1967.

o The largest swamp area in Cuba.
o This project failed miserably.

  • “Cuba will not even purchase a grain of rice from (the U.S.)…” Fidel Castro, 2000.

o The U.S.-Trade Council reported that since 2001, the island has purchased over $3.5 billion in food products from the United States, including rice from Texas.

  • “The dengue virus has been eradicated in Cuba.” Fidel Castro, March 2002.

o In 2012, at least 5 people died in Cuba infected with dengue and hundreds were hospitalized.
o In May 2013, new cases of dengue have been reported in the Eastern provinces.

  • “In a few years, Cuba will become an oil exporter country.” Fidel Castro, June 2008.

o Oil has yet to be found in Cuban deep waters.
o In 2011, Brazilian company Petrobas stopped its search and in 2012 Repsol (Spain) did as well. Russian company Zarubezhneft is leaving by mid-2013.

General Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother, continues to honor the tradition of unfulfilled promises:

  • “The economy, now more than ever, is our priority.” Raul Castro, April 2010.

o The 2013 Index of Economic Freedom ranked Cuba the second least free economy, just behind of North Korea.


*Jennifer Hernandez is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami.

1 thought on “Cuba Focus: The Unfulfilled Promises of the Castro Regime”

  1. But there’s “free” health care, of sorts, and “free” indoctrination, er, education. It’s good enough for little island people of color.

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