According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet report in 2006 Cuba was the only country in the world to have achieved sustainable development (measured as the improvement of the quality of human life while living within the capacity of its ecosystem).
Cuba challenges the unsustainable pattern that presently dominates the world. Its models of sustainable development — especially in areas of health, food, and literacy — are being studied and implemented throughout Latin America and beyond. Cuba also leads the world in hurricane planning and as an island nation is acutely aware of and has been researching climate change vulnerability of coastal zones.
The Cuban experience is far from perfect, but has been substantially impeded by the continuing U.S. economic blockade, which affects international trade and not just U.S. exchanges. As such, it was condemned by 191 of 193 members of the United Nations as recently as October, 2015. It was imposed after revolutionary forces led by Fidel Castro successfully ousted Dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and turned the country away from capitalism. Official U.S. policy since 1960 has been “to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.” (April 6, 1960 State Dept. memo by Lester D. Mallory, Deputy Asst. Secty. of State for Inter-American Affairs.)
Cuba’s best form of resistance has not been just asserting its national sovereignty, but also creating an alternative model of development that places ecology and humanity at its core. Despite many obstacles, it has become a world leader in ecological, organic and urban agriculture, and in providing medical assistance worldwide. U.S. Cuban environmental cooperation has begun and can go much farther.
Go see for yourself. Demand that U.S. travel and trade restrictions be lifted by both Administrative and Congressional action, and that we explore further cooperation.