Republic of Cuba
[Country Profile Page]
|Social and Moral Index||73rd best|
|Location||North America, The Americas, The Caribbean|
|Life Expectancy||73.68yrs (2017)2|
When it comes to press and media freedom, Cuba is one of the worst 5 countries in the worldReporters Without Borders Report "2013 World Press Freedom Index: Dashed hopes after spring" at fr.rsf.org/.../classement_2013_gb-bd.pdf accessed 2013 Feb.; it's one of those countries where 'compliance with international human rights standards would mean removal of those in power'3. .
|Compared to The Americas (2020)4|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
|26||St Vincent & Grenadines||89.6|
|31||Antigua & Barbuda||105.4|
|The Americas Avg||74.2|
|Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)4|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
|117||Timor-Leste (E. Timor)||98.6|
The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Sweden, Norway and Denmark5. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are The Solomon Islands, Somalia and Tuvalu5.
The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators), the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, LGBT equality and freethought. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe5, whereas the worst are Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia5.
For more, see:
Amnesty International's 2023-23 summary on human rights in Cuba stated:
“Food shortages and electricity outages were frequent throughout the year. Hundreds of people remained in prison following a crackdown on protesters in July 2021. In the wake of Hurricane Ian, authorities deployed military cadets to repress widespread protests over electricity outages and interrupted the internet. Three prisoners of conscience remained in prison, representing only a tiny fraction of the total number of people feared detained for the peaceful exercise of their human rights.”
"The State of the World's Human Rights 2022/23" by Amnesty International (2023)6
Cuba's government has been forcefully opposed to the concept of human rights, and the only way to ensure basic citizens' freedoms 'would mean removal of those in power'3. In 2017 there were over 3,700 arbitrary detentions - without any due process - of human rights defenders, journalists and others7. The government intimidates and controls dissidents using "repressive tactics, including beatings, public shaming, travel restrictions, and termination of employment"7.
“The number of arbitrary short-term detentions increased dramatically between 2010 and 2016, from a monthly average of 172 incidents to 827, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independent human rights group that lacks official authorization and the government considers to be illegal.”
International human-rights laws that Cuba has signed up for are often ignored. Despite signing international laws regarding "freedom of association, collective bargaining, protection of wages, and prohibitions on forced labour", Cuba does not in fact uphold those7.
|Human Rights Watch Comments|
Higher is better8
|96||Bosnia & Herzegovina||-6|
|The Americas Avg||-0.8|
Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.
|Nominal Commitment to HR|
Higher is better9
|The Americas Avg||16.5|
There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.
|HR Treaties Lag|
Lower is better10
|The Americas Avg||8.45|
Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.
For more, see:
Lower is better11
|The Americas Avg||2853|
The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world, and is linked with Freedom of Speech and Good Governance. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted". The rankings are used as one of the datasets of the Social and Moral Development Index12
It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".
“The government controls virtually all media outlets in Cuba and restricts access to outside information. A small number of journalists and bloggers who are independent of government media manage to write articles for websites or blogs, or publish tweets.”
Lower is better13
|The Americas Avg||0.25|
The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory14. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends15. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life16. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves17.
The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery18. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity19. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.
'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.20. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi21, Eritrea21, Indonesia22) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery23.
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Despite signing international laws prohibiting forced labour, Cuba routinely violates this principle7. In 2017, the United Nations specialist on human trafficking "visited Cuba and called for new laws and stronger action targeting human trafficking"7.
Cuba has made some steps towards ending gender inequality but much more needs to be done.
Lower is better24
|The Americas Avg||0.39|
The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchalism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.
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|Year Women Can Vote|
Lower is better
|The Americas Avg||1947|
Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.
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Higher is better25
|84||Central African Rep.||20|
|85||Sao Tome & Principe||20|
|The Americas Avg||26.1|
Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence26. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws27. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries26. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.
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Cuba's Constitution affirms religious liberty and freedom (Article 15 and Article 57), and outlaws discrimination based on religion (Article 43). Despite this, things are not well. As recently as 2020, the USA has again put Cuba on its "Special Watch List for having engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom"28.
|Freedom of Thought|
Lower is better29
|The Americas Avg||2.7|
Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Belief are upheld in Article 18 the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights30. It affirms that it is a basic human right that all people are free to change their beliefs and religion as they wish31. No countries voted against this (although eight abstained). This right was first recognized clearly in the policies of religious toleration of the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe in the post-enlightenment era32 of the 19th century. In democratic countries, freedom of belief and religion is now taken for granted33. In 2016 a study found that over 180 countries in the world had come to guarantee freedom of religion and belief34. The best countries at doing so are Taiwan, Belgium and The Netherlands29,35 and the worst: Afghanistan, N. Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia29,36.
Long-term studies have shown that religious violence and persecution both decrease in cultures where religious freedom is guaranteed37. Despite this, there still are many who are strongly against freedom of belief31, including entire cultures and many individual communities of religious believers. Their alternative is that you are not free to believe what you want and they often state that you cannot change religion without being punished (often including the death penalty): this is bemoaned as one of the most dangerous elements of religion38 and "the denial of religious freedoms is inevitably intertwined with the denial of other freedoms"39 and the solution is, everywhere, to allow religious freedom and the freedom of belief.
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