"In a nation faced with chronic shortages of everything from housing to food, more and more women are choosing to have just one child -- or none at all. A country with one of the hemisphere's highest life expectancy rates and lowest birthrates finds itself with a dwindling population -- one that in just 13 years will see the number of retired people outnumber the labor force."
"Fidel Castro wants help from the Church to fight the "plague of abortion" in his country, reported an Italian cardinal at the end of a visit with the Cuban president.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Genoa, spoke of his trip in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, published Thursday.
"Fidel Castro is asking us for help to combat the plague of abortion in Cuba," he said.
"The spread of abortion, as Fidel Castro emphasized, is among the causes of the country's demographic crisis," the cardinal added. "And it is also a consequence of the plague of sexual tourism."
"Cuba, which has unrestricted access to legal abortion, has an abortion rate of 58.6 per 1000 pregnancies in 1996 compared to a Caribbean average of 35, a Latin American average of 27 (the latter mostly illegally performed), and a European average of 48. Additionally, contraceptive use is estimated at 79% (in the upper third of countries in the Western Hemisphere)."
P.S. We also learned later that Castro died as a very wealthy man, as Juan Reynaldo Sanchez wrote.