Cuba’s decrepit economics discourages new life
Cuba’s low fertility numbers offer a silent message from Cubans who cannot openly speak against their own government. It turns out Cubans are not having enough children. The island’s fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world and its population has become one of the oldest as well. That is fitting for a nation ruled by a gerontocracy with equally outmoded economic ideas. The regime of Raul Castro and his brother Fidel has turned Cuba into a place where the state rules supreme and people have little incentive and opportunities to prosper economically. Young Cubans who cannot leave the country don’t feel the need to procreate. And many choose to end their pregnancies. The United Nations reckons Cuba’s rate of abortions of 30 for every 1000 women is second only to Russia among countries where abortions are legal.
The New York Times captured this barren reality on Tuesday when it quoted a gentleman ironically surnamed Nazco (which means “I am born” in Spanish). “We need to be able to afford basic things for ourselves,” Jose Luis Nazco said, explaining why his girlfriend and him chose to end a pregnancy and refuse to bring children into the world. “I want to give my kids a comfortable life, a better life than what I had.” Sadly, this is not possible in Cuba and he knows it. If this trend continues Cuba’s population will fall by one third over the next 50 years, with four out of every ten Cubans becoming senior citizens. People like Nazco and his girlfriend understand the importance of economic freedom better than most. They choose extinction over Cuba’s version of a future. Cuba’s low fertility numbers send a powerful message: a society with no economic and political freedom has little incentive to survive.