Cuba and Haiti, worlds apart

Having just returned from a two week tour of the farming areas in eastern and southern Cuba and quickly returning to the Caribbean, a few days later, to do development work in northern Haiti, I have been provided with an interesting comparison of the two countries through the lens of government public services provided to the people of each country.

It is understood by most people doing development work that a strong and independent national government is essential to the providing of basic services to those who live at the bottom third of the economic spectrum. In Cuba, the Cuban government provides electricity and clean piped water to each household, 5 pounds of rice per month to every Cuban plus free health and dental care in addition to free education, that includes college or university education.

In what I call the American plan, there is a subservient government supported by the US military, which provides little or no basic service to its people. The results clearly speak for themselves in Haiti: a much harsher life for the average Haitian because of the expensive cost of health care, education and food.

Although the Cuban revolution has many critics and adversaries, the fact remains that the reason for the revolution, as stated by Che Guevara, was a concern for ordinary people. The fact is that this concern still manifests itself today with the public services offered to the Cuban people and results in wide spread support for the Cuban Revolution. In a country like Haiti ordinary people agree that the political elites care little for ordinary people and the lack of any government services is a clear demonstration of this fact.

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