Would You Rather Live In Cuba Or The United States

- jim Young  originally published August 2012 updated February 2020

“Humanity’s a nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there.”  – Terry Pratchett

Just the very idea of living under a dictatorship or communist rule is so terrifying to most Americans that their answer to the question “would you rather live in Cuba or the United States?” would be based on a preconceived notion without even considering the facts.

Why cloud the “truth” with facts?

We could debate the pros and cons of a democratic/capitalistic society vs a dictatorship/socialistic society until the cows come home and never be any further ahead.

As Sir Winston Churchill said in 1947 “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”

To put it another way, one might suggest a democratic government is nothing more than the least evil of all the evils.

And when you think about it, how much say does any individual really have in the running of any democratic government anyway?

How much satisfaction can be derived from knowing you have a say in electing the next incompetent leader of your country?

Probably the single largest example used to demonstrate the folly of Castro’s communist government in Cuba is to point out the living conditions in Cuba based on its poverty.

But let’s face it. Cuba is not the only “poor” country in the Caribbean. So is it fair to suggest Castro and his communist government are at the root of that problem?

In fact, it might be more accurate to suggest the U.S. embargo on Cuba has more to do with Cuba’s poverty than does communist rule.

The website Aneki lists Cuba ahead of Jamaica and the Dominican Republic in its list of “Poorest Countries in the Caribbean” based on GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita.

Yet, both Jamaica and The Dominican Republic have democratic governments that proudly support capitalist enterprises.

And while Puerto Rico, which is a territory of the United States, may be slightly better off than Cuba, they still have a median household income of about 50% of the poorest state in the US – Mississippi.

Puerto Rico’s head of state is the President of the United States. Puerto Rico is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and sovereignty and the United States Congress delegates Puerto Rico’s powers. Yet it lacks the protection of the United States Constitution and Puerto Ricans CANNOT vote in U.S. presidential elections.

But thank god it’s a democracy!

Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me – for the United States at least. Not so much for Puerto Rico.

But let’s put politics aside and to create a level playing field, let’s take materialism out of the equation and look at some of the more traditional aspects that determine the quality of life in the U.S. vs the quality of life in Cuba.

True or False
You would make less money if you lived in Cuba.

This of course is a no brainer. Yes – you would make almost 80% less money if you lived in Cuba than if you lived in the U.S. (Not counting territories such as Puerto Rico of course).

But we’re ignoring material things here, so how much would it matter provided you had the necessities to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle?

True or False
You would more likely be employed if you lived in Cuba.

True or False
You would use less electricity if you lived in Cuba.

True or False
You would use less oil if you lived in Cuba.

True or False
You would spend less money on health care if you lived in Cuba.

If you answered “false” to any of the above questions you were wrong. All of the above statements are true.

So although you might make less money if you lived in Cuba, you’re over 80% more likely to be employed just to get you out of the starting gate.

Then you would spend 90% less on hydro, 77% less on oil and a over 90% less on something as vital as health care!

Cuba has the best health care system of ALL third world countries. And let’s not forget that Cuba is recognized for producing some of the best doctors in the world.

In Cuba your life expectancy would be virtually the same as in the U.S. but you have almost 24% less chance of dying in infancy giving you a better chance to reach your full potential life expectancy.

And you would be over 80% less likely to die of Aids. There's also an almost 27% less chance that you would be in prison.

Upon graduating from high school in Cuba, everyone must serve time in the military. The theory is the government pays for your education so why shouldn’t you repay that with a couple of years of military service? And while I’m not sold on being forced to belong to any military I have to admit that it’s really not an unreasonable concept.

And let’s not forget that Cuba has not been involved in any wars for almost 30 years, since the Invasion of Grenada in 1983.

If you are a soldier in the U.S. Armed Forces you might expect to engage in combat – tomorrow? Has the United States ever NOT been at war with someone? (Never mind that for being one of the most powerful forces in the world, the U.S. doesn’t even win that many wars. But that’s a subject for another article.)

How long you serve in the military in Cuba will depend solely on your ambition and plans for the future.

Should you decide to continue your education you can leave the military after just two years and enroll in university free of charge. (Yet another important factor to help offset that 80% less money you’d be making.)

And it’s not a bad incentive to encourage students to stay in school, if you ask me.

Crime and in particular violent crime is far less in Cuba than it is in the U.S. (Or Jamaica, The Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico.)

While vacationing in Cuba I am at complete ease leaving the resort day or night. I can’t say the same thing about vacation spots in Miami or Los Angeles.

In Jamaica, a kidnap attempt was made on My Shirley and me in broad daylight just outside our resort.

Cubans are noted for being some of the happiest and friendliest people in the world.

When met with adversity they are among the most resilient.

So if you were an alien visiting from another planet and had to decide if you wanted to live in the United States or Cuba, having no preconceived notions of what democracy, socialism, dictatorship or capitalism meant – which would you choose?

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Additional statistics quoted in this article were found at If It Were My Home.


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