Giovanni Rodriguez Pino: A Sustainable and Irreversible Cuba

Cuban work card

Hey Everyone!

In this post, I wanted to share with you all a bigger picture of the Cuban economy and why certain changes are taking place. This will be the cornerstone of my DASR project and will definitely be a question to ponder as I develop my paper.

For over two decades, Cuba’s economy has been stagnant and many of the social advances achieved by the Revolution have started to decline.

According to the Pew Research Center, Cuba’s gross domestic product in 2013 was 77.2 billion Cuban pesos – which at the official exchange rate of 24 to 1 equals $3.2 billion USD. Moreover, CIA estimates place Cuba’s inflation-adjusted GDP growth at 1.3%, making it the 172nd out of 222 countries ranked for GDP growth in 2014. 20 While Cuba’s unemployment rate was officially at 2.7% in 2014, the state sector continues to move towards its plan to layoff 33% of the workforce (approximately 1.8 million employees).

Cuba’s cuentapropistas (self-employed workers or literally, “on your own”) Card
Cuba’s Cuentapropistas Card (self-employed workers or literally, “on your own”)

Thus far, the creation of non-state sector employment “has been insufficient to absorb those who have been fired.” These facts, along with other development indicators, illustrate Cuba’s economic hardships and the need for significant economic reform. It is no surprise that Cuban officials have been concentrating on economic reforms in order to “update” Cuban socialism for the 21st century. As Raúl Castro, many Cuban economists and foreign analysts all recognize, Cuba’s socialist Cuba’s socialist system is currently unsustainable and requires a radical transformation in order for Cuba to maintain its high level of human development and achieve the economic prosperity required to make Cuban socialism “sustainable and irreversible.”

Socialismo Billboard

2 thoughts on “Giovanni Rodriguez Pino: A Sustainable and Irreversible Cuba

  1. I was really interested in your discussion of the Cuban economy—I travelled to Cuba last January with Americas Scholars and your description of the economy in Cuba as “stagnant” seems about right. I didn’t realize how low Cuba’s GDP growth is, however. From what I know about the economy in Cuba, I cannot fathom what it will be like for 1.8 million government workers to be laid off—without family sending money from the States, it seems like those laid-off workers would have trouble supporting themselves. I look forward to hearing what you’ve learned about Cuba, and I’m especially interested to hear if you think Cubans will ever be able to prosper without support from relations outside the country.

  2. It seems like your project is going to be a fascinating look at an issue that is as relevant as could be! I think it’s very interesting the way you say that from the Cuban government’s perspective the current changes are just an “update” when in fact it sounds like a pretty critical and radical restructuring of socialism. I’m also really interested to hear what exactly is meant by making Cuban socialism “irreversible.” I thought that was a funny way to describe an economic system! I can’t wait to see where your project has ended up by October.

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