Some of Cuba’s achievements before the arrival of communism in 1959

Cuba was a bright light of development and prosperity in Latin America. But when communism arrived in 1959 and plundered the island, Cuba went on to become a third-world country.

Here is a partial list of Cuba’s achievements up until the socialist revolution arrived in 1959 (via CubaNet — my translation):

  • In 1889, Cuba installed the first public lighting system in all of Ibero-America.
  • It was the first nation in Ibero-America and the third in the world to have a railroad in 1837.
  • It applied anesthesia with ether for the first time in Ibero-America in 1847.
  • It held the world’s first demonstration of an electricity-powered industry. It took place in Havana in 1877.
  • It had the first tramway in Latin America around the year 1900.
  • Havana received the first automobile in Latin America also in 1900.
  • It created the first X-ray department in Ibero-America in 1907.
  • Our capital was the first city to have direct dial telephone service in 1906.
  • It inaugurated the second radio station in the world in 1922 and reached a total of 61 stations in 1935, ranking fourth globally.
  • Cuba led sugar production in the world, with a higher participation of Cuban owners by the late 1950s.
  • In Havana, there were two ice skating rinks and drive-in theaters for outdoor movie viewing.
  • It approved the Eight-Hour Workday Law, minimum wage, and university autonomy in 1937.
  • It passed one of the most advanced constitutions in the world in 1940, recognizing women’s right to vote, gender and racial equality, and women’s right to work.
  • It constructed the first hotel with central air conditioning in 1951 and the world’s first reinforced concrete building in 1952. It is located in Havana and is known as the Riviera.
  • It was the second country in the world to have color television in 1958.
  • It had the highest number of automobiles in Latin America in 1958 and was also a leader in household appliances, kilometers of railroad lines, and the total number of radio receivers.
  • In 1954, Cuba had one cow per inhabitant and ranked third in Latin America (behind Argentina and Uruguay) in per capita meat consumption.

2 thoughts on “Some of Cuba’s achievements before the arrival of communism in 1959”

  1. All of that was either too good for Cubans (who’d gone far past the “Latin” norm) or not good enough (for those who didn’t appreciate how good they had it and wanted more than they deserved, either for nothing or at the expense of others). Anyway, the bottom line is that Cubans threw it all away for…SHIT.

    Sometimes I think that the fuck-up was SO massive that it was just too much. Cuba was not some chronically failed country which had never flown right, meaning what it did was at best irrational. In other words, sometimes I think Cuba deserved what it wound up getting, even if all Cubans didn’t.

  2. In fact, the first railway line built in Spain was the “Havana-Bejucal-Güines” line, which was built eleven years before the first peninsular line.

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