18th century slaves in Cuba were better fed than Cubans today

It’s hard to believe, but one can never underestimate the destruction that communism can cause on a society. A study by an independent human rights organization has found that slaves in 18th and 19th century Cuba were better nourished than Cubans living today under Fidel Castro’s socialist revolution. Thanks to socialism, a fertile and self-sufficient island, rich in natural resources, now cannot produce enough food to sustain itself.

Via CubaNet (my translation):

Slaves were better nourished than Cubans today, a study shows

A study by the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (COHR) reveals that slaves in Cuba during the 18th and 19th centuries had a diet that was superior in nutritional value and more abundant than that of Cubans today.

The study, based on research by historian Manuel Moreno Fraginals, indicates that slaves consumed half a pound of beef, salted meat or cod daily, along with 500 grams of cornmeal, sweet potatoes, cassava, pumpkin, and plantain fufu.

This diet provided approximately 70 grams of animal protein, 13 grams of fat, and 382 calories, supplemented with plant proteins.

Comparatively, the current food situation in Cuba is discouraging. Despite hard work in the fields, contemporary Cubans cannot access a diet as rich in nutrients. Agriculture, which was once prosperous, has declined in productivity and efficiency, making Cuba one of the countries with one of the poorest diets in Latin America.

Per capita meat consumption in Cuba has decreased drastically since the 1950s, when it was one of the highest in the region. In 1958, per capita consumption was 6.7 pounds per month, the third highest in Latin America. Today, it is estimated to be less than one pound per month. Currently, many Cubans can barely access beef, and some haven’t even tasted this food in years.

The lack of protein in the current Cuban diet exacerbates malnutrition. Nutritionists recommend a daily intake of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which is hardly achievable with the current diet.

This is “one of the worst crimes against the Cuban people perpetrated by the communist regime,” the Observatory denounces.

The dire food situation on the island produces lamentable scenes every day, including seeing people, overcome by hunger, fainting in public. Cases abound in a country where the minimum wage of 2,100 Cuban pesos is not enough even for the meager (incomplete) portions provided by the ration book. The youngest at home, the elderly, and people with disabilities in the city and rural communities are the most affected by hunger and poverty.

In extreme cases, the elderly and vulnerable individuals have died of starvation. Last year, a man with mental disorders “died of hunger” in La Maya, according to some neighbors who spoke to CubaNet.

In many places, elderly people roam the streets daily showing signs of weakness, as well as mentally ill or alcoholic individuals, and older people asking passersby for food. Lately, some have been approaching the few existing private gastronomic centers to ask for leftover food.

2 thoughts on “18th century slaves in Cuba were better fed than Cubans today”

  1. And the reason Cuba does not (rather than cannot) produce enough food to sustain itself is that the ruling regime, which controls everything, is incompetent, indolent and indifferent to what Cubans actually need and want. Its overriding priority, which trumps all else, is staying in power indefinitely.

    Again, the current situation NEVER existed in republican Cuba and would have been inconceivable to Cubans of that era. So, as always, “Gracias, Fidel.”

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