Sanders: Cuba the Other Side of the Story

Bernie Sanders Feb 28, 2020

Sanders' Cuba comments have resurfaced. And, he still maintains that the gains of the revolution in education and healthcare are remarkable. Which is the same thing he's claimed for 50 years. From 1969 (pdf, archive pdf):

With regard to education Castro's Cuba has made nothing less than extraordinary progress. In 1961 the revolutionary government undertook the monumental task of wiping out illiteracy in Cuba in one year.

And, on healthcare:

Cuba in 1958, had one rural hospital with ten beds; today in socialist Cuba there are 47 rural hospitals with 13000 beds, plus 50 medical and dental clinics, non-existent before.

I want to briefly explore 2 things about this story. First, is that the story? And, second, to what end?

So, first, is that the story? Presidential Hopeful Sanders wrote, in the first paragraph:

The facts presented in [article referenced by Mr. Sanders] do not tell the whole story of the Cuban situation. They do tell, for example, about the lack of civil liberties in Cuba, or the crowded jails, or the food shortages and inept economic management, or why tens of thousands of Cubans (including workers and peasants) have already left Cuba and why tens of thousands more will be leaving in the future.

So, education and healthcare are the story? Despite this? The lack of food? The "inept economic management"? The country that's so bad tens of thousands have fled and more are sure to do so? I mean, Hitler was a vegetarian, but that's hardly the story (to shamelessly pilfer Craig Ferguson).

Moving on, to what end did these things improve? Mr. Sanders notes that it's not surprising that they improved, they spent a lot of money to do so.

Cuba is spending on education sums far in excess of what spent before the Revolution - over four times as much.
How important public health is to socialist Cuba can be gauged by the budget figures allocated to health from 21 million pesos before the Revolution to 180,000 million in 1967, that is, almost a ninefold increase in only eight years.

Mr. Sanders already stated they had "inept economic management". What if, education and healthcare was the ineptitude. They spent money they didn't have on things that didn't provide the basic necessities (see Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs).

In that case, Mr. Sanders is advocating for the same results as Cuba. He will spend money we don't have on things that don't provide for the needs of the people. Then, we can look towards Cuba to see if that's the future we want.