Apartheid in Cuba: Using poverty to politically segregate the Cuban people

Apartheid is alive and well in communist Cuba. The Castro dictatorship uses poverty and institutes policies that will produce more of it to keep the Cuban people segregated from their country and the world.

Alberto Mendez Castello explains in CubaNet (my translation):

Poverty and the reproduction of poverty: Apartheid in Cuba

Fulfilling its mission to export Marxist ideology, not only to underdeveloped countries in Latin America but also to very specific environments in the United States, such as its universities and the American cultural and intellectual scene, Castro-communist totalitarianism has tried to conceal, or at least mask, the poverty and reproduction of poverty in Cuba. This poverty now covers various social strata, including workers, peasants, public employees, and retirees. However, for opponents, dissidents, or those simply apathetic to the regime, poverty is caused by apartheid, understood as political segregation.

Using a verbose, rhetorical discourse and abundant statistics that, for example, portray Cuba as a very educated, cultured, and enlightened country — when in reality, even the lyrics of some songs reveal that it has degenerated into an uncultured, boisterous nation embroiled in a marginal and quasi-criminal economy due to its unproductive outcomes, bordering on fraud — the regime publicizes grandiose figures for primary, secondary, higher education, and university graduates. However, these numbers actually express the intrinsically sectarian quality of this totalitarian, Marxist education.

Saturated with political segregation that corrodes human development and generates poverty passed down from one generation to the next, far from being systemic, pluralistic, and productive of liberal professions, arts, and trades that guarantee not only dignified employment but also a sustainable family economy that reproduces well-being, it has been the “educational system” of the Castro-communist regime — under the orders of elevated communist military and militants, for more than 60 years — that has been responsible for reproducing national patterns lacking civic, moral instruction, harmony, and the natural spirit of fellowship typical of educational institutions. These institutions are the foundations of all socio-economic, scientific, intellectual, and cultural entrepreneurship of a true nation, and not merely a collection of boisterous people.

But to admit that there is poverty and reproduction of poverty in Cuba due to a statist economy, the squandering of national resources, and apartheid — understood as political segregation — is to admit the failure of Cuban socialism as a generator of social justice. Above all, it is to recognize that a new class — the communist leaders and the military supporting that single-party leadership — has become the new exploiters of the proletariat.

As we know, a study of poverty in a country, territory, human group, or individual is not an arbitrary judgment but involves precise measurements, the first of which is the so-called poverty line (PL). This is conceptualized based on a minimum income level that allows the acquisition of a basic basket of goods and other indicators, which, in addition to food, includes fuels, personal and household hygiene products, clothing, footwear, communications, housing expenses, transportation, education, health, and other essential goods and services. Families or individuals with incomes below this line are considered poor. And according to the universally accepted poverty line, today, Cubans are more than poor; we are extremely poor.

The second method for identifying poverty is measuring the so-called unmet basic needs (UBN) — but there cannot be more unmet basic needs than there already are in Cuba. This knowledge is obtained by comparing the actual consumption of goods and services considered basic by a household or individual, including housing, drinking water, electricity, drainage, household furniture and equipment, information, recreation, adult and child education. A family or individual is considered poor when they have one or more of these unmet needs.

Another way to explore poverty according to specialized United Nations institutions is through the so-called Human Poverty Index (HPI). This is achieved by taking the aforementioned PL and UBN data and including life expectancy at birth, adult literacy rates, school enrollment of children, per capita gross domestic product (GDP), unemployment rates, and the rate of underweight children under five years old.

But even poverty viewed this way, without other specifications of human, civilized quality of life, would not be clearly defined if the legal insecurity of individuals or political, economic, and civil rights segregation were not mentioned. This affects individuals, their families, and even entire communities who, due to dissent or open opposition to the Government, lack access to higher education or, even as professionals, are prohibited from practicing their professions.

Nor can there be talk of social justice or human development while inequalities, lack of opportunities, marginalization, and, ultimately, poverty result from rejection for political reasons. This is closely related to, and significantly impacted by, the lack of legal security for citizens against the totalitarian state. Legal security is understood as the certainty that an individual’s interests — personal, business, moral, and political — will not be unjustly, without due process and good faith, diminished, disrespected, sanctioned, or tarnished.

But the gravity of poverty, more than poverty itself, is its reproduction. It is a fact we see before us: when families or groups lack the means to eliminate or at least mitigate poverty, those individuals, social groups, or families fall into a state of stagnation, translated into social immobility. This is extremely harsh because it is evident how poverty is passed from parents to children, from generation to generation. In this case, poverty is not a consequence of idleness or habitual laziness, as communist leaders have tried to portray when entire groups or neighborhoods of Cubans have risen in social protest.

The poverty in Cuba, the poverty seen in what little remains of rural neighborhoods and the increasing poverty in the marginal neighborhoods of all Cuban cities, is a direct result of the political-governmental decisions of the totalitarian state and the Communist Party. Through regulations, decrees, decree-laws, and laws, they primarily limited and curtailed, to the point of halting, the emancipatory role of the prosperous or aspiring family and free education.

By eliminating these ancestral institutions, they eliminated employment opportunities for Cubans. Due to the statization of private property, in the countryside, livestock and farm owners, plantations, and sugarcane fields disappeared. In the cities, the state’s own phobias caused legitimate businesses and merchants, workshops, industries, and factories, along with mechanics, carpenters, or shoemakers like their parents, to disappear. Similarly, professional services of doctors, lawyers, engineers, and architects were prohibited.

“The streets belong to the revolutionaries” or “the universities are for revolutionaries,” to cite just two mantras repeated year after year to this day, are not mere Castro-communist slogans, but state policies designed to segregate the population opposed to the regime.

And this apartheid is maintained in the now-called micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), where “owners” fire employees considered critical of the dictatorship. It is an extension of government administration and police harassment. Thus, with all study, employment, work, or business options denied, politically segregated Cubans are condemned to poverty and the reproduction of poverty within their families. This is the disgraceful outcome of the “revolution” that once claimed to be for the poor and by the poor.

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