The president’s assertion came in response to a question about whether public or private funding creates more efficient organizations.
“So often in the past there has been a division between left and right, between capitalists and communists or socialists, and especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate,” Obama said.
“Those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it really fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory. You should just decide what works,” he added.
Obama went on to praise the education and healthcare systems under Cuba’s longtime communist governance.
Though, he conceded, Havana still “looks like it did in the 1950s” because of its communist economy.
“To president Castro, I said you’ve made great progress in educating young people [Cuban dictators indoctrinate its youth]. Every child in Cuba gets a basic education. Medical care, the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States despite it being a very poor country because they have access to health care. That’s a huge achievement,” he said. “They should be congratulated. But you drive around Havana and you see the economy is not working. It looks like it did in the 1950s.”