Cuba and the USA

US GDP per capita $56000 per head

Cuba GDP per head $6000

 

Why do some people think dictator Castro did a good job?

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103 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    He didn’t, but neither did, Batista. And if your country is hit by sanctions then there is going to be a financial hit.

    Not sticking up for the man, but we need to put things into perspective.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Mark B

      “if your country is hit by sanctions then there is going to be a financial hit”

      Er Castro was a Marxist, with a communist economy, are you saying communism doesn’t work without access to capitalism? Who’d a thought it eh

      • Hope
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Good article by a Guido on the reporting of Castro’s death by the BBC. Another good reason to privatise it or close it down.

        • Hope
          Posted November 29, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          I cannot understand how Labour can heap praise on Castro after his vile regime on human rights dictatorship etc and then condemn the likes of Trump and Thatcher. They are weird on the extreme left.

          I hope this sends a clear message to former Labour supporters.

      • Richard1
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Cuba was also massively propped up by the Soviet Union. The country still has extensive external debt to the likes of Russia Venezuela etc, so if these are called could be bankrupt. It’s important to focus on why Cuba was such a disaster – and it’s very revealing that Corbyn et al think Castro is someone to be admired. What Castro demonstrated, if we needed reminding, was you can’t have socialism without an oppressive one party state (nothing to do with the Soviet Union, oppression has continued more than 25 years after the end of the Soviet Union). He also showed – as the GDP figures above remind us – that the absence of a market economy leads to grinding poverty. Cuba would have been much closer to US GDP per head in the decades before Castro.

      • agricola
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        No political philosophy works without a successful economy.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Is trade a solely capitalist thing?It was after trade with the Soviet bloc collapsed due to the latter unwinding that the real problems set in.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 29, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          Mitchel

          Is trade a solely capitalist thing you ask… Yes otherwise it isn’t trade its manipulated/controlled markets

          • Mitchel
            Posted November 30, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

            It’s still trade,even if not free trade.

      • Jerry
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian; Castro (as far as the economy Cuban economy was concerned) was simply left-wing, to start with, but after the US sanctions started were imposed he turned to the USSR.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          Jerry

          So what? You say simply left wing as if that was in any way admirable or useful .

      • Mark B
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        The Soviet Union bought wheat and sold oil. of course Communism does not work. But hey, try telling that to the Communists and the BBC.
        😉

      • Iconoclast
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Of course if one thinks communism didn’t work at all then the populations of China, Russia, Cuba and Eastern Europe number about a couple of hundred thousand as the rest starved to death, froze from the cold, caught flu because of lack of anti-biotics and died horribly and were never able to produce one nuclear submarine because of a total lack of education enabling sufficient people to become educated.
        Also Hanoi was obliterated by US B52 bombers because it was not encircled by sophisticated Russian missiles and Russian “advisors” manning them.
        Actually I spoke with one such ghost advisor in Russia. Interesting man…told me all kinds of stuff. He could walk through walls. But that could have been the very sweet Russian vodka which could not have been real as it would have taken capitalism to produce it and make me tipsy.

        We should not believe ALL our propaganda about Communism nor the survivors of various internment camps who would have died of exhaustion and starvation and never have been able to put pen to paper if their stories had not been part of the Russian literary genre “True-Myth”
        Not that Socialism or communism is anything to write home about.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      You are right , it’s hardly a valid comparison given Cuba was targeted by the U.S. in acts of economic and military warfare for decades .

      Similar things could be said about Venezuela and Hugo Chavez who didn’t bring it on themselves in the same way as Cuba could be said to .

      Cuba at least did well compared with it’s peer Venezuela .

      For all the American workers extra productivity , increasing numbers are kept in a state of debt slavery by the banks and their complicit governments .

      The median net personal worth of Americans is supposedly now less than $5,000 dollars and the biggest source of personal bankruptcy is medical bills . Large numbers can’t raise $400 at short notice .

      The American workers don’t seem to be getting a fair share of the spoils they help to create .

  2. Gerry Dorrian
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    The lefties spouting histrionic encomia over Castro’s corpse don’t give a fig for working-class Cubans, they support his ideology – as they support the IRA’s and Hamas’s – in order to weaponise it and use it to de-centre British culture and traditions. The same is happening throughout European countries and has been for decades; the resulting tensions will not dissipate quickly.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    The UK GDP per cap is only about $40,000. It could easily be higher than that in the US more like the $85,000 of Switzerland.

    Alas we have a bloated and totally inept state sector delivering little of any value and spending nearly 50% of GDP doing so. We have far too much red tape, absurdly expensive energy, poor infrastructure, a dire NHS, a poor education system, very restrictive planning, absurdly high & complex, lots of bonkers vanity projects and many other economic insanities.

    Little real vision from May and Hammond to address any of this so far. Indeed even more silly red tape is proposed and higher taxes still in the Autumn statement. They are clearly just more tax, borrow and piss down the drain socialists at heart. Boring ones too.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      The UK GDP, in purchasing power parity terms (which is what really matters) looks even worse compared to the US one.

      The price of energy, houses, electronics, the internet, borrowing fees, food and nearly everything else being far cheaper in the US than in the UK.

  4. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Ah, but you see that is all down to the wicked Americans.

    # sarcasm

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      A lot of his appeal to the left is surely down to his defiance of the Americans rather than what he did within Cuba.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        Much as today’s hard left favours Russia despite it being no longer remotely communist/socialist and in many respects having returned to its pre-1917 self with the deeply conservative Orthodox church back at the centre of power.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile:- Mark Carney plans to keep Britain in EU single market until 2021 as reported today. Are May and Hammond in agreement with this, it rather looks like they are?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/11/27/mark-carney-plans-keep-britain-eu-single-market-2021/?WT.mc_id=e_DM237331&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_FPM_New_AEM_Recipient&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FPM_New_AEM_Recipient_2016_11_27&utm_campaign=DM237331

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      No surprise Carney has these views (or at least pretends to have them though really he wants to stay in the EU forever) but he should be reminded that his job doesn’t involve meddling in politics like this. It is particularly bad because he is not even a UK citizen so his political views carry no weight at all here.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      I don’t see this as a major problem provided that it is done through transitional provisions written into the treaty which terminates our EU membership when it comes into force, but still leaves us being treated as a member of the EU internal or single market for a couple of years while all necessary preparations are made.

      I would see it as a problem if it was done by keeping us in the EU for those two years, or by keeping us in the EEA or similar arrangement by a new treaty “concluded for an unlimited period”, as the EU treaties have it.

      That is the difference between “transitional provisions” and a “transitional state”, which could easily turn out to be a permanent rather than transitional state.

      • Flyinthesky
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        The way I see it is a transitional state will be built upon rather than dissected from.

    • stred
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      It seems very odd that an overpaid official thinks he is so important that he can go around meeting bankers in private meetings while proposing delaying fully leaving the EU. Presumably, this involves continued freedom of movement and payment of £10bn + pa. Should he not have asked for permission and clarified the bank’s position with the government before making statements? This could affect the economy and the value of the currency.

      Mrs May should consider telling him to clear his desk and arranging an escort out of his offices. A final warning is not necessary in the case of extreme mis-behaviour.

      • stred
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        By the day after leaving, British banks could all have offices in the EU through which their 3/4 of European investment could pass. This ‘cliff edge’ scare must be part of the Project Reverse campaign. Carney should be sacked in order to send a message to them.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Unbelievable, Ed Milliband (yet another lefty Oxford PPE man, like Ed Ball, Cameron, C Huhne, Ed Davey ….. and the rest of the usual suspects) has actually tweeted something sensible for once.

      Ed Miliband ‏@Ed_Miliband Nov 26
      More Marxist anti-business ideas. These Tories….

      This referrring to Theresa May’s bonkers “we know how to run businesses best even though we have never run one and know nothing about it” agenda.

      What a depressing list Oxford PPE graduates are in the main. Dire, lefty, misguided, greencrap dopey, career politicians – in the main anyway.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Oxford_people_with_PPE_degrees

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps four sound ones at best in the list.

    • agricola
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Never mind Carney, if May and Hammond are involved what is Clarkson’s opinion.

    • Qubus
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      It’s about time that man packed his bags.

  6. Nig l
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Ask the BBC, they seem to be the usual one (left) eyed cheer leader. Frankly with their appalling continued stance on Brexit, it is about time they were ‘sawn off at the knees’

  7. Original Richard
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    “Why do some people think dictator Castro did a good job?”

    Because those on the left believe equality trumps standard of living.

    By our ridiculous definition of child poverty both Cuba and North Korea will have child poverty levels lower than the UK as in these countries everyone apart from the political elite is very poor.

    To achieve this level of equality you need to ensure there is no freedom or democracy.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      “Because those on the left believe equality trumps standard of living”

      But not for those in control delivering/imposing equality to/on the masses.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Indeed.

  8. David
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Very good PR and press like the Guardian ignoring his victims

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Actually I’ve just read the double page obit in today’s Guardian and it is quite good in that it makes clear that Castro was first and foremost a nationalist and an opportunist rather than a dyed-in-the wool socialist revolutionary.

  9. MPC
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Not really fair to compare a small Caribbean island with the wealthiest nation on the planet in narrow GDP per head terms! Having travelled round Cuba I would say their health and education services are very good by comparison with other Caribbean countries, and these services are valued by the Cuban people. Also GDP per head would have been considerably higher had the USA lifted its trade embargo – the purchase of Cuban sugar by the USA would have improved Cuba’s GDP per head figure considerably.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      MPC

      OK compare Cuba to Singapore ( which is far far smaller)

      Singapore GDP per capita $55,182.48 Oh and Singapores health system is far superior.

      Cuba is a communist country why does it need international capitalism if communism is so good?

      Stop apologising for evil dictators who murder their own citizens, no amount of “free plasters” is worth that

    • Know-dice
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      What about comparing with somewhere like Singapore which had the equivalent of what could be considered a “benevolent dictator” for as many years as Cuba had Castro in charge.

      Singapore GDP per capita $51,800 per head

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      I know a Doctor who worked in Cuba and now works in USA. She says the myth about the Cuban health service is just that – a myth.

    • Bob
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      @MPC

      “purchase of Cuban sugar by the USA would have improved Cuba’s GDP”

      Cuba’s sugar exports were pledged to the USSR in exchange for oil. You can only sell it once, to do otherwise would be fraud.

    • John miller
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Why?

    • Edward2
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Well compare them to Barbados or even St Lucia and Jamaica
      Free elections
      Ability to travel
      Rule of law
      Trial by jury
      Rights to choose where you live
      Rights to choose what you do and where you work
      And what you earn
      Rights to freehold land
      Freedom in short

    • Handbags
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      There’s much better measure to use than GDP.

      Are people risking their lives to get in, or risking their lives to get out?

      It’s a measure that works for the entire world.

      • Bob
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        @Handbags

        People are risking their lives to get to the UK from France.
        What could possible explain that.
        The elephant in the room.

  10. rose
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    If you are Jeremy Corbyn you look round the world for anti-Western regimes, no matter how vile, and support them. There are plenty of other people with this approach.

    • Hope
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      And if you are Tony Blaire you act as a consultant to them and earn a shed load of money for their disgusting regimes!

    • British/American
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Anti-Americanism started at the top when they broke free from the British Empire and still didn’t pay their taxes even on leaving.
      Anti-Americanism cascaded down from the British elite because they were humiliated at Dunkirk and still are not prepared to admit we were completely routed. The Elite went cap in hand to America, again making it look like a victory, this time by sending Churchill speaking in sombre tones,. with giveaway sales of colonies and investments for some ready cash for war-making. Then, the Elite got American pilots to fly secretly under British RAF colours before they begged the Americans to help out with troops in the UK war against Germany and Germany’s war against the UK.
      Jeremy Corbyn represents the cascaded psychological and factual humiliation of the British Elite which the working class has absorbed like a nasty virus and been tricked into regarding the Anti-American virus as part of its own natural metabolism. We should not be anti-American. We should be Anti-British-Elite and by the way the revolutionary Americans have a really good point about not paying the British Elite any tax whatsoever.God Bless America!

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  12. Bob
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I read that his personal wealth was significant. Perhaps that’s what impresses the likes of “Lord” Peter Hain. It could also be the no nonsense way he dealt with dissenters.

    • Banker
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Not surprising Lord Hain may be impressed because they both have hatred an obsessional and persistent hatred of cricket. Both like banks

  13. acorn
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    That’s what happens when you peg your currency to a foreign currency. The US Dollar in the case of Cuba. The Eurozone has the same problem, multiplied by nineteen countries and thirty times the population. Eighteen of them are pegging their own Euro currency to the German Euro currency.

  14. Caterpillar
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Perhaps maintaining high life expectancy and good social indicators despite poor (GDP bottom line) economic policy and trade restricitions?

  15. Phil Carter
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Maybe they use a different method to measure Cuba’s GDP ?

    • acorn
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      If you measure it on a per capita Purchasing Power Parity basis (PPP), it is more like $20,000 for Cuba and $52,000 for the US. The UK is around $38,000.

      • Bob
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        A caller to LBC radio said that they had a flat rate salary of $26 per month regardless of job, brain surgeon or cleaner.

        He also said that a “tray of eggs” cost 1 weeks wages.

        If the above were true, I can’t imagine how Fidel managed to accumulate $900 million. Surely that would have taken a million years, assuming he didn’t spend too much on eggs & cigars.

  16. SM
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Well, the regime Castro overthrew was decidedly unsavoury, to say the very least, so it would have been unreasonable to expect a polite, reasonable and democratic regime to appear almost at once.

    However, that is not an excuse for the utterly unjustified praise he has received from the usual suspects. I used to know a Cuban exile who kept in touch with her family who were left behind – the alleged health and tourism benefits were, in her view, wildly over-exaggerated, for instance.

  17. formula57
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Castro is to be repudiated for a number of reasons, but the quality of life in Cuba may well exceed that in the USA despite a relative lack of material wealth.

    (Where is the promised and much looked forward to review of Marine Le Pen please?)

  18. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Unsurprising to see many on the left who call Trump a fascist lavishing praise on Castro who actually did put gays in concentration camps.

    • Dennis
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      The UK also put gays in concentration camps known here as prisons before 1967, was it?

  19. Maggie
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Castro almost started WW3..

    During the Cuban Missile Crisis, leaders of the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in a tense, 13-day political and military standoff in October 1962 over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles on Cuba, just 90 miles from U.S. shores. In a TV address on October 22, 1962, President John Kennedy (1917-63) notified Americans about the presence of the missiles, explained his decision to enact a naval blockade around Cuba and made it clear the U.S. was prepared to use military force if necessary to neutralize this perceived threat to national security. Following this news, many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war. However, disaster was avoided when the U.S. agreed to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s (1894-1971) offer to remove the Cuban missiles in exchange for the U.S. promising not to invade Cuba. Kennedy also secretly agreed to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey

  20. Stephen Berry
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I might add that many Latin American countries now have considerably higher per capita wealth than Cuba. Before Castro, Cuba was one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America.

    I have finally given up on the British televised media. It got Brexit and Trump badly wrong and now it is being ‘balanced’ on the dictator Castro. The impression given on Castro’s death was that all the expat Cubans in Miami were cheering, but in Havana everyone loved the old blighter and were heartbroken to see him go.

    Did the reporters not realise that Cuba is still a one party state with Castro’s brother still in power! If you lived in Cuba and detested Castro, why on earth would you stick your head above the parapet at this moment?

  21. hefner
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    And that from a history graduate!

    Or is it a joke?

  22. Smokescreen
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    One reason could be that unlike the USA, that Cubans, Canadians, British and most if not all peoples across the planet have for many years been able to look at, smell, buy and smoke arguably the very best cigars in the world…genuine Havana cigars.
    Another reason may be is when the Cuba sends its soldiers abroad to fight, most notably in Angola, they win.

  23. Ed Mahony
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Cuba (and Soviet Russia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia etc) is what happens when you base your politics on a mainly atheistic, Utopian, left-wing ideology (Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy is what happens when you base your politics on an atheistic, Utopian, right-wing ideology).

    • libertarian
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Ed Mahoney

      Er Hitler & Mussolini were both socialists !!!

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        I said they were ‘Utopian, right-wingers’
        Regards

        • libertarian
          Posted November 29, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Ed Mahoney

          “I said they were ‘Utopian, right-wingers” Yes, and you’re wrong they were both just your average socialist dictators like Stalin, Pol Pot and the rest

    • Deborah
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Stop trying to rewrite history.
      Hitler was a SOCIALIST.
      Educate yourself…

      The National Socialist German Workers’ Party , commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945 and practised the ideology of Nazism….
      The Nazis sought to improve the stock of the Germanic people through racial purity and eugenics, broad social welfare programs, and a collective subordination of individual rights, which could be sacrificed for the good of the state and the “Aryan master race”.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Too simplistic.It’s much more like to be the effects of authoritarianism in general,resulting in the brighter,capable people having no outlet for their talent and feeling they have no stake in society.Despite it’s highly succesful propaganda the Soviet Union was,at it’s centre,idealistic only for its first few years;even Lenin quickly dropped/postponed the idea full communism(whatever that is) in favour of a mixed economy and Stalin saw himself as Ivan the Terrible reincarnate rather than a disciple of Marx.

  24. Sighted Man
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    He kept his soldiers out of the Middle East

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      It has been reported that Cuban advisors (and possibly tank crews) have been helping President Assad in the current Syrian conflict.

  25. BoyScout
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    He beat the American army even though he wasn’t Vietnamese or North Korean.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      If he beat the USA army how come the USA maintains a military based actually on Cuba (Guantanamo Bay) whereas there seems to be no similar Cuban military base on mainland USA ?

  26. nightnurse
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    He created an NHS. America did not. Hillary Clinton said the Democratic Party had researched before implementing ObamaCare ( much hated ) and found the “United States of America cannot afford a free national health service”

  27. A humiliation
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    His doctors and nurses were on the ground, the largest contingent, in Africa fighting Ebola before Bill Gates beat the Obama administration in sending any aid, even money, to fight Ebola.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      He traded his skilled people for oil by sending them to work in Africa and Venezuela
      It’s not quite as benevolent a gesture as you think.
      And those Cubans were made to go.

  28. Kenneth
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    The fact that we are even considering it is a testament to the power of the neo-Marxist infiltration of the BBC and other institutions.

    Other big BBC headlines today:

    “Bringing up my son as a feminist”
    “Does twerking objectify or empower?”

    Oh, and the continuing BBC campaign against ‘fake news’.

    What irony.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      What the BBC is surely not against fake news that is there speciality!

      Clearly tweaking is empowering to the BBC so long as you are paid well and keep at least a few clothes on.

      Well there are feminist like myself, who think they should and can compete on a level playing field. Then there are BBC woman’s hour “feminists” who think they are really a bit helpless and cannot, so they need active anti- male discrimination to help them.

  29. Brit
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Interestingly apart from the USSR and then Russia,and China ongoing, Mexico is the largest contributor of free economic aid totaling millions of dollars to Cuba. Many South American countries too have sent money and other aid. Obviously they saw something in Castro somehow beyond his cruelties, even when some of their own countries were unstable and poor.
    I have never been to Cuba, but have met, strangely, no end of people in my locality without political interest who have ventured there yet nowhere else in South America or the Caribbean. None of them had a word of criticism. Odd.
    Castro seemed to have a presence of a kind which was a pull-factor. Honestly I have no real explanation

  30. Antisthenes
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Only thing in Castro’s favour was his intention it had merit. It was to right a wrong. It all went wrong when he engineered an outcome that was completely the opposite of the intent. Righting a wrong is supposed to lead to something better but in his case it lead to something worse. The methods he employed to achieve his objectives were excessive and distasteful in the extreme. Something most revolutions have in common. Also in common is that they start out as a means to correct social injustices. Revolutions are undertaken as a mixture of political and violent acts but not always. The latter varying in barbarity and scope.

    Social injustices we are never without so there is always an excuse for some group to address them. The majority of violence in the world today centres around groups addressing their perceived social injustices or used as a pretext for it. Two major groups, socialists and Muslims, are currently striving for social justice that they believe they are being denied that are having dire consequences. They are striving to gain it in the same way Castro did in the less developed nations. In the West they may not be doing it so violently although there has been and is some elements of that but is just as pernicious and the end result will be the same as what Castro achieved if they succeed.

  31. Newmania
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Yes and when you think that a total basket case economy like Jamaica is twice the level it give the lie to the idea that the political settlement does not affect the economy .

    One thing I would say is that the heroic boat people from Cuba are much the same as those from Syria

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      The same as ‘Syrian’ boat people ? Not really.

      I say ‘Syrian’ because obviously the refugee crisis is being exploited by peoples (men) from many lands.

      The Cubans do not land on a safe shore and then make their way across a continent of safe nations to reach our welfare system.

      Had you and your ilk not abused asylum/immigration against the British people (to change our people to suit the EU) then their generosity and tolerance would not have been pushed beyond breaking point.

      ‘Please please’ stop thinking you’re a good man, Newmania.

      Brexit is your fault.

  32. Aatif Ahmad
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    You’re not comparing like for like. You need to compete GDP per capita at purchasing power parity to adjust for price differences and exchange rate movements. Otherwise the UK has just become 20% poorer because of the fall in sterling.

    Cuba’s GDP per capita is 20,000 USD so not too bad. What also matters isn’t just the average per capita income but also how this is distributed.

  33. Ed Mahony
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    @Mr Redwood, on a personal level i like you (there are others in the Conservative Party i don’t like – although i try to be charitable by not mentioning them) – but i think you’re too focused on Europe when there is far more to British politics and life than Europe, and your talents should be used at the moment over things such as Transport and Energy – without flattering you, you have easily the best ideas on these in the Conservative Party or any party – at least what I’ve read and listened to in general. If you moved more towards the centre, I would certainly support you as leader of the Conservative Party, and i think you’d make a great PM).

  34. lojolondon
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Only the establishment, the MSM and the political elite think Castro was great. Normal people know he was a savage dictator. The same people who love Castro and Che Guevara are the ones who most fear the democratisation and freedom that come with Brexit and Trump.

  35. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I noted Mr Corbyn’s praise for comrade Castro. Hardly surprising as he and his shadow chancellor appear to be the ideological equivalent of the Castro brothers.

    Anyone wondering what life in Great Britain would be like under a future Labour government led by Mr Corbyn need only cast their eyes toward Cuba.

  36. bigneil
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    He didn’t end up with his country being flooded with sponging foreigners who will never contribute.

  37. backofanenvelope
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Given that statistics from Communist regimes are just made up, why not have a simpler test. That of migration. Are people trying to get into a country, or trying to leave it. For instance, in 1959, people were moving into Cuba. After 1959 they were risking life and limb to get out.

  38. ian
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Maybe because cuba is a small island with sanctions and you have to feed the people with what you have and homes and maybe 6000 give you the same life stile as 56.000 on a island with no imports from the west, some people like living a simple life, people moving to wales and council gives them 7 acres of land if they can be self efficient in five years, i see quite a lot of people are trying to move off grid and be self efficient and why not, giving up there jobs and having a go, it’s becoming more popular by the year, they are all over the world now, used to call them hippies and dropouts, yes you have animals veg make your own bread and what you do not need you sell to the local people.

    No bankers or politicians or politic required just a doctor now and again.

  39. Dennis
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Did Castro ever thing of doing these things:-

    Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:

    Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
    Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
    Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
    Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
    Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.*
    Plus … although not easily quantified … has been more involved in the practice of torture than any other country in the world … for over a century … not just performing the actual torture, but teaching it, providing the manuals, and furnishing the equipment.

  40. Dennis
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    US GDP per capita $56000 per head
    Cuba GDP per head $6000
    Why do some people think dictator Castro did a good job?

    Is this the silliest thought of JR? Perhaps this is why he is not in the Cabinet.

  41. Dennis
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    At one point, the Carter administration sent a secret negotiating team down to talk to him, and they basically said, you know, “We’ll lift the embargo, if you get out of Africa.” And he said, in response, “You know, I don’t accept that the United States gets to operate by one set of rules, and Cuba, smaller country, is being told to operate by a second set of rules. The revolution meant independence for our governance and our foreign policy, and that is what we are going to pursue.”

    Only the US can operate worldwide – the CIA got Mandela arrested; Thatcher called him a terrorist. Castro helped to destroy apartheid.

  42. The Prangwizard
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Has ‘Dithering Doris’ said anything yet? Doesn’t she know which side she’s on again?

    Leaving the Left to make all the running. They’ve had their say in spades and it tells me she is in sympathy with them. Anyone with any fibre would have said something straight away. Like Mr Trump.

  43. Maggie
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Is there no such thing as being Persona non grata anymore…

    Why are British politicians lauding Castro as a hero of our time.. I don’t understand .

  44. Resigned
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Excellent (but long) new Stones doc on CH4 ending up in Cuba. The audiences didn’t seem terribly keen on Castro. Venezuela bit good too.
    Hope it’s “false news” that some Italiano politician is calling for requisitioning of privately owned housing , but having heard that thing last night (R4) about some v.poor Italians having their savings accounts emptied without recompense, perhaps it’s not.

  45. rose
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Can’t help smiling at our sending Sir Alan Duncan to represent us at this homophobic tyrant’s funeral.

  46. CorbyninCuba
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    I can’t see how Jeremy Corbyn will resist the temptation of going to Castro’s funeral. Look out for a man with a beard wearing a huge sombrero hiding much of his face, a serape obviously picked up in a Salvation Army remnant sale , and, tell-tale bicycle clips.

  47. Dauber
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Corbynistas are in shock and disbelief. They are going to have to take down the poster of Che Guevara pinned to the back of their toilet doors and replace it with one of Castro. Who knows whether it will colour-coordinate with their bright purple and yellow decor?

  48. EastMeetsWest
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    America and Cuba never saw eye to eye in penal reform. Havana favoured fake trial followed by imprisonment in the West of Cuba and America favoured no trial at all an imprisonment in the east of Cuba in Guantanamo Bay.
    Hard to take sides. On the one hand you got a free orange uniform and leg chains and on the other hand you got handcuffs and free cigars.

  49. Ken Moore
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Because that is the politically correct view and the natural outcome of dumb PC logic. PC always seeks to re-distribute power from the powerful to the powerless making no distinction whether the power is malign or benign.

    America = Oppressor – hated
    Cuba – Oppressed – loved
    Libya – Oppressive state -hated
    Libyan ‘rebels’ – Oppressed – loved (by David Cameron)
    Coal miners – oppressed- salt of the earth
    Conservative ministers – Oppressors – hated by the left
    etc. etc.
    IRA bombers – oppressed? – free pass out of jail.
    White working class – Oppressors (formely the oppressed)
    Ethnic minorities – Oppressed – Give special privelidges such as allowances made for ‘cultural reasons’.

    Castro can do no wrong and America nothing right despite being the worlds largest liberal democracy and donor of foreign aid.
    Does John Redwood really still take the wrong and fashionable view that PC is ‘just about politeness’. Perhaps one day you might want to discuss it for it has literally transformed the world into a far more hostile and dangerous place. Which is deeply ironic for an ideology that is supposed to be about kindness and virtue.

    Maybe one day we could have an honest discussion about the rise in anti semetic attacks or why Africa is getting poorer ..or why the number of HIV cases is rising. But i doubt this post will even get published!.

  50. John S
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    In all fairness, one needs to compare its GDP/head with other Caribbean countries. The Bahamas is at the top with around $21,000 but where is enormous inequality of wealth. St Kitts and Trinidad follow with around $14,000. However, Cuba GDP/head is about the same as Jamaica and Dominica.

  51. Dioclese
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    With respect, Cuba doesn’t use the US dollar. Next you’ll be calculating our GDP in Euros. You can’t compare Apples and Oranges.

    Castro did a damn site more for ordinary Cubans than Baptista ever did…

    Have you ever been to Cuba? I have. I wrote about this yesterday on my blog. Feel free to read and comment.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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