Hope for the Planet


1-17-07, 10:50 a.m.

[The following is an editorial from the January 16-31, 2007 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper].

At a time of increasing fears for the future of the Earth, a beacon of hope shines off the southern coast of the United States. According to the Living Planet Report 2006 published by the World Wildlife Fund, Cuba is the only country in the world that enjoys 'sustainable development.'

Sustainable development, the WWF says, is 'a commitment to improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems,' measured by two criteria: the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Index (HDI, calculated from life expectancy, literacy, education and per capita GDP) and a country's 'ecological footprint.' An HDI value of more than 0.8 is considered to be high human development, and a footprint lower than 1.8 hectares per person (the average biocapacity available per person on the planet) denotes sustainability at the global level. Among all countries, only Cuba qualifies in both areas.

Cuba registered a 12.5% increase in its Gross Domestic Product during 2006, the highest such indicator in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the average GDP growth for the region was 5.3%. In 2007, Cuba will assign 22.6% of its GDP for public health and education, four times the Latin American average.

Cuba is the world's leader in organic agriculture, and a pioneer in reduction of energy consumption. it is making significant contributions to medical research, and Cuban doctors are serving the people in poor countries throughout the world.

In short, despite its history of poverty and colonial domination, and the unrelenting pressures of US imperialism, Cuba has established a socialist society increasingly based on sustainable development. Cuba's example proves a global future of wars, economic chaos and environmental collapse is not inevitable, if working people can wrest power from the transnational corporations before it's too late.

From People's Voice