Castro Undeniably Impoverished Cuba
And in 1959, when Castro took power, GDP per capita for Cuba was some $2,067 a year. About two-thirds of Latin America in general and about the same as Ecuador (1,975), Jamaica (2,541), Panama (2,322) and two-thirds of Puerto Rico (3,239). Despite that playground of rich Americans think it was, by the standards of the time, doing reasonably well.
By 1999, 40 years later, Cuba had advanced hardly at all, to $2,307, while Ecuador had, relatively, jumped to 3,809, Jamaica to 3,670, Panama to 5,618 and Puerto Rico to 13,738. GDP isn’t everything of course but it’s still hugely important. For it’s the basic measure of what it is possible that people, on average, can consume. And we don’t tend to think that Ecuador, Jamaica, Panama and Puerto Rico were particularly well run in the latter decades of the 20 th century but at least they didn’t have a government actively conspiring to keep them impoverished like Cuba did.