The Causes of High Human Development in Cuba

Cam Bortolon


Cuba continues to have a HDI score well above what one would expect from a country of its GDP. A unique case both regionally and globally, it presents an impressive degree of success in meeting human security needs. This paper compares key domestic policies used in Cuba with those used in comparable states in the region and worldwide in order to find the causes of Cuba’s high HDI score. It finds that these results are due to a combination of factors, many of them based in the state's Marxist-Leninist ideology. Specifically, a combination of equitable land reform, a strong welfare state, and smart prioritization and allocation of government resources work together to deliver a high degree of human development. These findings show that while Marxism-Leninism is by no means a flawless ideology, in practice it can contribute to high human development. Cuba’s remarkable success compared to countries with similarly low GDPs suggests that the policies and underlying ideology utilized there should be adopted in other developing nations in order to improve human development and security.


human development; Caribbean; Cuba; developing countries

Full Text:


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.