The Miami Herald published the text of Ms. C. Rice’s speech to the OAS on June 5 and there seem to be some most interesting conclusions that follow from her statistics comparing the “prosperous” Cubans in the U.S. and the downtrodden still on that island.
She said, in particular: Here in Florida, we can glimpse the future potential of a free Cuba. As recently as 1999, the 2 million Cubans in the United States earned a combined income of $14 billion. Now compare that with Castro’s Cuba, a country of 11 million citizens and a GDP of only slightly larger than $1 billion. The lesson is clear: When governments champion equality of opportunity, all people can prosper in freedom.
However, $14 billion amongst 2 million Cubans means $7,000 each. The U.S. average money income was $22,900 (2001) more than 3 times larger. (Money income excludes capital gains, company benefits, food stamps, etc. that otherwise appear as “personal income.”) If we compare her $7,000 number with total per capita income, the numbers look worse.
Further, in 2000, median income for Hispanic families was $31,700 and for Cuban families, $38,300; not much different. The World Almanac (2005 edition) says Cuba’s GDP was $31.6 billion in 2003—a long way from the $1 billion Ms. Rice quotes. Where did Ms. Rice get her information?
It really is difficult to lie to all of the people all of the time.
Rod Holt, San Francisco
Condoleezza Rice’s speech to the OAS on June 5 is a pretty transparent call for outside intervention in Cuba by the U.S. Secretary of State. Imagine also the bitter irony of the millions of poor people in Florida who are learning how well-off Cubans there are. No mention is made, of course, of the 45 years of massive subsidies which Cuban exiles have received since leaving Cuba that no other immigrants from any other country receive. The Secretary of State also noted:
“We must also act on our Charter to advance democracy where it is absent. Thirty-four nations have earned their rightful place in this great democratic organization. But there remains one open seat at the table—a seat that will one day be filled by the representatives of a free and democratic Cuba.
“Here in Florida, we can glimpse the future potential of a free Cuba. As recently as 1999, the 2 million Cubans in the United States earned a combined income of $14 billion. Now compare that with Castro’s Cuba, a country of 11 million citizens and a GDP of only slightly larger than $1 billion. The lesson is clear: When governments champion equality of opportunity, all people can prosper in freedom.”
I don’t know where Condoleezza Rice stays when she visits Miami, but rather than a city of progress and prosperity, Miami has a rather nasty reputation as one of the poorest big cities in the United States of America. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have left the island in search of better economic opportunities in the U.S. They get advantages no other immigrants to the U.S. get, from the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 to the massive web of public and private social services they receive which no other immigrants get, either. But for many, as anyone who’s seen the documentary Balseros knows, the streets of Miami are hardly ones paved with gold, as US propaganda would have us think.
Just two years ago, The Miami New Times, a weekly news, culture and entertainment newspaper provides well-researched and detailed reports on the city’s less-publicized characteristics. Just two years ago it prepared a large file to document the city’s status as the a leading center of poverty in the United States:
Walter Lippmann, Los Angeles