Taiwan’s Prosperity Proves that Socialism, Not Sanctions, Causes Cuba’s Economic Failure

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Taiwan’s Prosperity Proves that Socialism, Not Sanctions, Causes Cuba’s Economic Failure
Taiwan’s Prosperity Proves that Socialism, Not Sanctions, Causes Cuba’s Economic Failure

In the early seventies, Cuba and Taiwan shared similar economic conditions that should have made them prosperous nations. However, the two islands took opposite paths. As a free nation today, Taiwan’s GDP is eight times that of communist Cuba.

Contrast Cuba with Taiwan

The similarities are striking. Both islands are close to significant world powers. Taipei’s authorities face continuous aggression from China, which asserts a pseudo-sovereignty over the island. Cuba is 90 miles off the coast of the U.S., which refuses to support the communist regime.

Both countries face trade embargoes and political pressures. Taiwan suffers from limited international recognition due to Chinese pressure to deny its status as an independent nation. Cuba faces American sanctions (yet free trade with everyone else) as a means of protest against the cruel human rights abuses on the island prison.

Taiwan’s population of 23.5 million boasts a thriving economy with a poverty rate of just 0.7 percent. In stark contrast, Cuba, with 11.2 million people, faces severe economic struggles, with 90 percent of its population living in poverty.

The Example of Taiwan

Taiwan has thrived by recognizing private property, free markets and the rule of law. It did not embark upon the disastrous path of communist China. It learned from the massive mistakes of the Mao Zedong era, which led to widespread famine and poverty during the so-called Great Leap Forward.

Taiwan participated in the economic and political transformations in neighboring Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea. Taiwan’s progress laid the foundation for technological advancements, meeting global market demands. Taiwanese innovators honed their expertise in semiconductor production, shaping the backbone of modern electronics found in computers, smartphones and automobiles.

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Taiwan boasts the eighth-largest economy in Asia and twentieth globally. Taiwan’s ascent and robust economy paved the way for favorable trade relations with other nations seeking mutually beneficial partnerships. The country also shed its single-party military regime in the nineties. It has developed robust healthcare and education systems.

Cuba: Where All Embrace Poverty and Misery

When the Soviet Union collapsed, many thought that Cuba would join Eastern Europe and also rid itself of communism. However, Cuba continued to suffer under Fidel Castro’s atheistic revolutionary doctrines. Castro doubled down and extended his revolution to neighboring Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Under the communist regime, Cuba took the path to misery. Its land reform schemes destroyed its flourishing agriculture. Once a sugar-producing giant, Cuba plummeted into a state of sugar scarcity and now imports sugar!

For years, Cuba survived on Soviet funding and subsidies. With the demise of the Soviet Union in the nineties, Cuba plunged into one of its darkest periods. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez provided a lifeline to the country by donating oil to prop up Castro’s failed regime. Now that lifeline is severed as socialist Venezuela has its own shortages and can no longer provide this aid.

Reports from Cuba say the situation is far worse than in the dark nineties. The COVID crisis has scared away millions of cash-rich Western tourists.

Milk and bread are in short supply amid a deepening hard currency crisis. The socialist government has made an unprecedented move by turning to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) for help.

Havana asked for this additional food relief at the end of 2023, with WFP dispatching skimmed milk powder to Cuba. Even this help was insufficient as some provinces have reduced milk supplies, while others have substituted milk with syrup or vitamin-enriched instant soda.

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There have also been power outages due to fuel shortages caused by drastically reduced oil imports from Venezuela. The government has also announced massive hikes in gasoline prices, which will worsen the high inflation rate on the island.

Brazilian liberation theologian Friar Betto recently met with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana and later expressed grave concerns about Cuba’s current economic state. Friar Betto, who has visited Cuba hundreds of times to extoll the wonders of the communist regime, now paints a grim picture. The cleric, who also works with the WFP, describes it as the most challenging situation since the Cuban revolution in the fifties.

The reason for Cuba’s demise cannot be explained by U.S. sanctions, given that the entire world can trade with Cuba. It rests squarely with communism’s failures. To understand this, all that is necessary is to compare Taiwan and Cuba to see what sixty years of communism did to a prospering country.

Photo Credit:  © bilal ulker – stock.adobe.com

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