July, 2018

Cuban Infant Mortality and Longevity: Health Care or Repression?

  • Benjamin Powell

    Professor of Economics, Texas Tech University
  • Gilbert Berdine

  • Vincent Geloso

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Find the article through Oxford Academic.

Ongoing political changes in Cuba following Fidel Castro’s death offer an opportunity to evaluate his regime’s legacy with regards to health outcomes. The common assessment is that Cuba’s achievements in lowering infant mortality and increasing longevity are among the praiseworthy outcomes of the regime—a viewpoint reinforced by studies published in US medical journals (Campion and Morrissey 1993; Cooper and Kennelly, 2006)1 We argue that some of the praise is unjustified. Although Cuban health statistics appear strong, they overstate the achievements because of data manipulation. Moreover, their strength is not derived from the successful delivery of health care but rather from the particular repressive nature of the regime which comes at the expense of other populations.