They never said that it was perfect BUT it was not "the underdeveloped country" narrative that Castro & the left have been preaching for years.
A few years ago, CONTACTO magazine published a summary of pre-Castro Cuba.
It will shock you, specially if you are ignorant about pre-Castro Cuba.
It does not shock me because this the Cuba that my parents have always told me about.
The truth is that the Cuban progress of that time was fundamentally a result of the efforts of all sectors of that society during 57 years of republic, after almost five centuries of life as a nation.
At the same time, 62% of sugar mills, the principal sites of sugar production -which itself was the most important component of the Cuban economy- were owned by Cubans.
Among them, their politics notwithstanding, were José Lezama Lima, probably the most outstanding Cuban man of letters of this century; poet and dramatist Virgilio Piñera, who revolutionized Cuban theater with the premiere of Electra Garrigó in 1948, two years before French-Romanian Eugene Ionesco, father of the Theater of the Absurd, premiered The Bald Soprano in Paris; the painters Amelia Pelaez, René Portocarrero, Wilfredo Lam and many others; novelist Alejo Carpentier, author of The Century of Lights, poet Nicolás Guillén; the ballerina Alicia Alonso; and, of course, an extraordinary number of composers and interpreters of Cuban popular music, such as Ernesto Lecuona, Amadeo Roldán, Alejandro García Caturla, the Trío Matamoros, Sindo Garay, Eliseo Grenet, Hubert de Blank, Benny Moré, Dámaso Pérez Prado, and many more.
At that time, there were 35 thousand (35,000) hospital beds in the country, an average of one hospital bed per 190 inhabitants, a number which then exceeded the goal of developed countries, which was 200 inhabitants per hospital bed.
In 1960, the United States had one hospital bed per 109 inhabitants.
In 1958, Cuba had a labor force of two million two hundred four thousand workers (2,204,000).
The rate of unemployment at that time was 7.07%, the lowest in Latin America, as per data from the Cuban Labor Ministry.
This is a video of pre-Castro Cuba.
This video will bring lots of memories to my parents, specially the part about El Malecon. It will shock those who bought into the leftist theory that Cuba was some underdeveloped country saved by a communist Robin Hood named Fidel: