chapter  10
The Cuba syndrome
Pages 12

For many socialists, Castro's Cuba represents an exciting radical alternative to the stale orthodoxies of Marxism-Leninism. Relying heavily on sources sympathetic to the Cuban experiment, this chapter will try to explain why the results have been so disappointing. Before Castro and Guevara wrested power from General Batista's murderous regime in 1958-9, Cuba's per capita national income was around 50 per cent above the average for Latin America and 'Only Venezuela and Argentina, of the larger Latin American countries, had a higher average income' (Seers, 1964, 18). But by 1970 Cuba's per capita GDP was approximately 2 per cent below the average for Latin America and her relative decline continued in the 1970s (UN Economic Bulletinfor Latin America, 1967, 108; Warren, 1980, 230; Bairoch, 1975, 193,247; Wynia, 1978,326; World Bank, 1980, 110-11): Current us dollars Latin El per capita America Cuba Salvador Guatemala Peru GDP, 1950 247 372 148 166 121 GNP, 1959-61 350 500' 321 269 198 GDP,1970 540 530 295 350 435 GNP, 1974 937 640 410 580 740 GNP, 1978 1362 810 660 910 740 Current US dollars per capita Columbia Brazil Mexico Argentina GDP,1950 201 208 211 496 GNP, 1959-61 253 267 348 551 GDP,1970 315 365 660 1055 GNP, 1974 500 920 1090 1520 GNP, 1978 850 1570 1290 1910 • 1957: Seers, 1974, 264.