By Abby Belongy
A majority of Americans seem to have a negative view of Cuba. They see extreme oppression, poverty, and lack of development and globalization with the rest of the world. Because of this, most would be surprised to learn that Cuba has already met most of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set for 2015. The country’s infant and maternal mortality rates are some of the lowest in Latin America and the world, respectively. Additionally, all citizens have access to free public health and vaccinations. With the blockade with the U.S. still going strong, Cuba is still increasing medical research, including AIDS/HIV prevention – one of the MDGs.
Cuba is also making strides in eradicating hunger and poverty, women’s equality, and increasing education for children. UNESCO even ranked Cuba as 14th in the world for its high level of education.
While Cuba has accomplished some of the goals and is working toward others, many problems still exist. Hunger and poverty have improved, but they are still far from good rates. In February 2013, a Cuban delegate blamed some of these problems on the unfair global economy. She asserted that countries in the South are affected much more negatively, and Northern cooperation and assistance is necessary to truly reach all the high goals and standards.
While Cuba reports that it has accomplished much on its own, it probably cannot progress much further without help from the U.S. and the rest of the developing world. However, we aren’t likely to see that happen anytime soon.
Learn more about the mission of the MDGs: