Regarding your recent editorial column (9/14) about the Cuban embargo, I would like to make a clarification that may seem petty to some but it is really important to the overall picture.
Prior to Castro’s regime, Cuba was never a third world country. Contrary to Castro’s communist propaganda, Cuba’s health care and educational system were one of the best in the American continent.
In Cuba, education was compulsory until age 16 and public schools were available to all that did not wish to enroll their children in private schools. There were many Cubans, like my family, who preferred to send their children to private schools as doing so was the popular thing to do among middle class families (who prior to Castro’s regime made up a sizeable part of the population).
When my family moved from Cuba to Puerto Rico, I skipped one and a half grades as I went from a Cuban private school to the P.R. public school system, which basically often patterns its educational system after the U.S.
The Cuban health system was likewise enviable prior to Castro. Cuba was one of the first countries in the world to have open heart surgery. The ratio of doctor per patient was incredibly low with many top notch doctors. Health care clinics were very inexpensive and health care was free to all who could not afford it.
The quality of Cuba’s educational and health systems were always superior to that of many countries and Castro did not improve upon it one bit. On the contrary, if anything they both have deteriorated considerably due to Castro’s penchant for interfering with the private sector. From a prosperous country with a sizable middle class, Cuba has now become a third world country. That is what happens when the government takes over a country; it makes everybody equally poor, no matter how hard you work as an individual.