Fidel Castro died last week. This re-opened a debate around the world, in the UK and the Labour Party as to the appropriate response; it seems we have to sum up his life and the Cuban society he led in one of two words, goody or baddy!

Others point at Dr Denise Baden’s more balanced defence on the BBC; she makes the point that if the USA were to be measured through the same lens, it would be found wanting. Otherwise it’s the 2nd best health service in the world, massive improvements in life expectancy and literacy and support for the anti-apartheid movement vs. the imprisonment of dissidents and oppositionists and the restoration of the death penalty. Here’s what Amnesty International has to say; its report places Cuba’s response in the context of the USA’s illegal embargo, but at the end of the day it’s no excuse.

Like life, Castro’s legacy will be painted in shades of grey.

However, the event of his death has led to yet more bitching in the Labour Party since Corbyn and the Party’s leadership recognise and applaud the achievements of Cuban revolution while the right want to emphasis Castro’s dictatorial and oppressive behaviour.


I had reason to examine the World Bank’s World Governance Index and following Denise Baden’s example compared the USA and Cuba. As she predicted, the USA doesn’t do so well. I made an error and have temporarily removed the chart. I mis-transcribed the Cuba numbers. Cuba underscores the USA in all 6 categories, although its hard to believe that it does so badly in Govt. Effectiveness (7.7% percentile) given its health and education successes.

Tagged on:                 

2 thoughts on “Castro

  • 1st December 2016 at 9:40 am

    I used the percentile position based on the World Bank’s scoring methods. These have been criticised and defended. As far as I can tell, this methodology normalises the data points and creates a comparative score. I can see why one would do that. They do not have common scoring methods by country.

    Voice and Accountability is democracy.

  • Pingback:Measuring Democracy |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: