We’ve been meaning to write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin. The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way in showing what a truly humane response to the coronavirus is. For instance, while capitalist countries turn away ships with passengers who are infected, Cuba takes the opposite view. It sees the job of humans as to help other humans.
Whereas in the US the production of, say, masks to protect people from infection, is driven by the possibilities to make profits, in Cuba mask production is driven by human needs – like the need to protect people and save life.
Cuba also has one of the most advanced health systems in the world – the best of any poor country and superior to many First World countries. Cuba is actually supplying doctors to Italy, Brazil and elsewhere to tackled the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuba’s health system and the overall prioritisation of human needs also makes the country a pioneer in the development of medicine, including vaccines and cures. So Cuba, not the massively wealthy imperialist United States, is in the forefront of the search for an antidote to this virus.
One small additional note from ourselves. The author is a left social-democrat and thus there is the inevitable couple of sentences at the end criticising what he sees as a democratic deficit in Cuba. We don’t think Cuba is an ‘ideal’ socialist state – but how could it be in a world in which capitalism reigns supreme across the planet and the massively powerful imperialist United States is just 90 miles away, imposing economic blockade and constant attempts to isolate Cuba even more, destroy its economy and promote internal counter-revolution. Given all that, it is doing pretty damn well. A lot better than the left in the imperialist world, who really don’t have much to show for themselves. So we do think it ill behoves leftists in the imperialist heartlands, where formal bourgeois democracy is only possible because of the super-exploitation of the Third World, to criticise a democratic deficit in Cuba. We also think the criticism fails to recognise the importance of the National Assembly in Cuba, the committees for the defence of the revolution, the mass organisations and the other mechanisms through which the population plays a serious role in decision-making.
Overall, however, this is a really good article. Start reading the article below, and then click onto the link to take you to the full article on Jacobin.