Poverty in Cuba is Deliberate

It’s not collateral damage from the US blockade or capitalism’s neoliberal system

By Benjamin Noria

HAVANA TIMES – For many years now, word has spread on our TV screens and newspapers, that the US blockade is the reason for poverty in Cuba. I would really like it if the US lifted the alleged blockade so that we could see what other excuse the Cuban government comes up with to explain poverty in the country.

The idea that poverty is deliberate in Cuba and not collateral damage from the US blockade, might be difficult to understand after so many years of mind control.

But the US doesn’t have a blockade against Cuba, strictly speaking, it has an economic embargo. It was the mechanism they found to seek compensation for properties that were nationalized and illegally expropriated from US business owners based on the island, during the early years of the Cuban Revolution.

In political science, our national poverty would be called a “national interest”. That’s to say, it is an advantage for the Government to stay in power. If we really think about it, we realize that if a Cuban is poor, they are a lot easier to manipulate. Moreover, it’s easier to make them dependent upon the State.

It’s easier to oppress poor people. It’s a lot easier to control the general population, if they don’t have the resources they need to rebel or to think for themselves. Cubans lack enlightenment and this is deliberate, they are susceptible to being played in any way the State apparatus deems fit. So much so, that if they take away a pound of sugar from their rations, they say nothing.

Greater poverty = greater dependence = greater slavery and, as a result, less freedom, less creativity and less happiness. State paternalism takes on the task of satisfying the biological and spiritual needs it believes the population needs. Here, politicians aren’t interested in the country’s prosperity, they just want to cling onto power. In short, poverty is a tool for government domination.

It’s no accident that Cubans are forced to purchase basic goods via a rations booklet at neighborhood stores. It is no accident that milk is only being distributed to children aged 0-6 years old. Nor is it by chance that butchers are only being stocked once a month with eggs, chicken and fish. Or that every member of a household is only being given one bar of bath soap and one to wash clothes.   

Protein deficiency is deliberate, so that the general population can’t use their brains properly. Long lines that leave people senseless due to deliberate shortages at stores, stop people from thinking about politics and using their intelligence to resolve the country’s problems. All of this is being done under the pretext of the US’ economic blockade.

Cuba is the poorest country in Latin America right now. Its leaders are so obsessed with power that the country won’t make any progress for a long time yet.  The government has channeled all its energy into arguing people’s dissatisfaction with capitalism in poor countries and the consequences of neoliberalism.

Blaming poverty on the US blockade or on Capitalism’s neoliberal system is a strategy that the Cuban State discovered to stir hate for capitalism among the general population. Hate with a long history, as it will be 62 years in just a few months’ time.

The government’s rejection of the US blockade and capitalism has managed to create a mass movement. It has given the Cuban people a mission to fight and stand together for. Of course, this is extremely convenient for politicians, ideologues and everyone else who is living well off of a supposedly “Communist” government in Cuba.

Read more from Benjamin Noria here.

8 thoughts on “Poverty in Cuba is Deliberate

  • A very one-sided and biased op-ed. A U.S. embargo that has lasted 60 years is not only inhumane but immoral. Cubans are suffering for political reasons and the main reason the Castros and new leaders have been able to stay in power has been the stupidity and short-sightedness of U.S. policies, a pyrrhic victory that capitalists have wrought.

  • Price controls are a disaster that will only increase shortages. Basic economics dictates that when merchants are able to function at a profit they will provide goods that people want. But they cannot charge exorbitant prices so long as there is competition between the merchants. So the key is to have competition and enforce laws against collusion. Price controls just kick merchants in the face and cause them to stop providing goods at artificially low prices. As a result price-controlled items tend to become unavailable (and the quality of what is available is very poor). This has been proved out in the real world innumerable times.

  • I don’t know if I buy your assessment that keeping people poor and malnourished is the plan for social compliance. I do know that price controls are a major factor in helping to distribute food. The supermarts that have been spreading around Havana seem to get supplies! They take American dollars. I don’t understand how this is even acceptable! The people need to access food and price controls must be imposed to avoid exploitation by greedy merchants.

  • I wish for the sake of enlightened debate that the handful of Castro sycophants would weigh in on articles like these. Instead, their silence speaks volumes. Cuba is poor because of stifling economic policies. The US embargo is a convenient whipping boy but the real culprit is the failed Castro dictatorship.

  • The article is correct, it is deliberate. However, I say that the reason is, people who have money can purchase a copying machine or a mimeograph (remember mimeographs? Ownership of one of them or a copier was illegal in the Soviet Union, with severe penalties). They can publish a newspaper or a magazine, or a radio station.
    Money is power, and Fidel knew this. He kept people powerless by keeping them impoverished.

  • they will make something else up, another argument, another lie.

  • The Honest Truth is Hard To Swallow, A Vision the Canadian Tourist are Waking up To when they Leave a Cuban Resort.

  • Very well stated and a brutally honest assessment of Cuban leadership since 1959.

Comments are closed.