Real Change for Cuba? How Citizens View Their Country’s Future

June 9th, 2011   Theme: Cuba Libre!

Report by Freedom House, June 9 2011

“In September 2010, Cuban president Raul Castro announced the beginning of sweeping economic reforms, including the elimination of a million public sector jobs, the easing of restrictions on private enterprise, and the first Communist Party Congress since 1997. To explore what Cubans think about the announced reforms, Freedom House conducted in-depth interviews with 120 people in six provinces from December 2010 to January 2011. These interviews also assessed access to information and technology on the island, and explored Cubans’ values and beliefs, which Freedom House compared with the findings from other countries in the World Values Survey study.
The results of this study indicate that despite hopes that the reforms will benefit Cuba, many do not believe they will personally benefit. Cubans continue to struggle to survive on a daily basis and are preoccupied by the need to feed their families, pay debts, and find work. When asked to describe their economic situation, the most common adjective used was “apretado” (tight). Cubans want to see economic reforms that will increase wages, lower prices, and make basic goods and services more available. Many younger Cubans would like to start a family but are unable to afford to live on their own, let alone raise children. As a young salesperson in Havana said, “If I don’t have enough to support just myself, what will it be like if I have a family?” The poor state of Cuba’s transportation system further isolates Cubans, particularly those in rural areas. …read the report

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