The American far left, such as Michel Moore and Oliver Stone, continue to view Cuba as a role model. The European left is even more admiring of Cuban socialism.
But don't be fooled by the selective propaganda. Cuba is extremely poor. Here is a picture my friend took when on vacation in Cuba a few weeks ago.
One explanation the left offers for Cuba’s poverty is sanctions by the United States. The sanctions imposed by the American capitalists certainly hurt, but there are plenty of other countries Cuba can trade with other than the U.S if it had something to sell.
Another excuse is that Cuba started poor. True, but so did other Latin American countries which developed while Cuba stagnated.
Lets compare Cuban growth with that of Chile and Costa Rica. Similar to Cuba, Chile was led by brutal dictators for long periods in recent history. Augusto Pinochet's right-wing dictatorship murdered at least 3.200 people. Fidel Castro similarly murdered 5.000-12.000 political opponents. Costa Rica instead was mostly a democracy.
Costa Rica and Cuba started at a similar level of development, while Chile was somewhat richer in 1950. Yet while Costa Rica and Chile developed, Cuba’s economy lagged behind. Only in recent years, when the tourism sector was opened to capitalism, has Cuba had some limited growth.
Socialism killed a half century of growth in Cuba.
One defense of Cuba is that it has high life expectancy. Sure, but really no higher than either Costa Rica or Chile. At any case, the Cuban dictatorship is almost certainly manipulating data regarding infant mortality and life expectancy, because those are their “storefront” figures used to manipulate gullible westerners. Communist dictatorships commonly put a lot of resources into boosting a few key statistics to use in propaganda.
For instance, the nice hospitals showcased to sympathetic westerners such as Michael Moore are for the Cuban elite and for foreigner. The health care ordinary Cubans have access to is of far lower quality.
Socialism has been a complete failure in terms of producing a high standard of living for the Cuban people. It is boring to have to kick in open doors like this. But young leftist in the west, such as those demonstrating against Capitalism in New York, desperately want to be fooled. Sadly it appears each generation of young people has to rediscover what a miserable failure socialism is.