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‘Socialism creates a better opportunity’

‘Socialism creates a better opportunity’

environmental justice in Cuba

(p.181) TEN ‘Socialism creates a better opportunity’
Achieving environmental justice
Karen Bell
Policy Press

In 2006, Cuba earned international recognition as the only country in the world to have achieved sustainable development. This was based on the country’s relatively high indicators for social development, in conjunction with a small per capita Ecological Footprint. The country also came out well in this analysis of environmental justice. Positive achievements in terms of environmental justice occur as a result of a basic commitment, at all levels of society (though not necessarily all sections), to environmental and social protection and improvement, with a distinct focus on meeting human needs. This is backed up by a generally favourable overall policy and legislative framework. In addition to this, effective, and often innovative, programmes were enabled by an experimental and correctable approach and a collective spirit that facilitates sharing and community-based mobilisation to address environmental problems. However, though these positive policies and commitments deliver a relatively good level of general provision, there were numerous examples of unmet needs, both subjectively experienced and quantitatively measured. Some of the problems are a result of Cuba’s dalliance with market measures. Though Cuba has, so far, used market policies in a pragmatic way, retreating from them when necessary, it will probably not be easy to reverse the latest changes.

Keywords:   Cuba, Socialism, Poder Popular, Communist Party of Cuba, organic agriculture, blockade, Public Transport, Integrated Transformation Workshops, elections, mass organisations

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