Change in Cuba?

The statistics office in Cuba said the average monthly salary of Cubans has seen a rise between 2006 and 2011 from $16USD reaching $19 USD.  The average low salaries in the country are a major bone of contention for Cubans. In Cuba’s one party Communist system, the government controls over 90% of the economy, keeping salaries low, and keeping salary ranges slim. In the current system, “A street sweeper might make US$17 and a brain surgeon US$22 a month.”[i]

Education and healthcare are nearly free in Cuba. A large portion of wages are spent on food. Additional currency is hard to come by in the island nation. Cubans who work in the tourism industry and those who receive money from relatives abroad have a significant financial advantage. However, most Cubans do not have this additional income.

I recently watched a documentary on Cuba. A lot of the people interviewed felt that a few opportunities have opened up recently. Some attributed these changes to the power being handed down from Fidel to Raul Castro in 2008. We have yet to see the extent of the changes to US – Cuba relations with Raul Castro in power. It will be interesting to see if greater changes take place in the coming years.

Tahric Finn

[i] AFP, Havana. 2012. Cuban monthly salaries rise 17% to US$19 in 5-year span: statistics office. The China Post. June 6, 2012. P7.

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  1. While the wage gap in Cuba is relatively small for laborers vs professionals, there is still a substantially high level of stratification between civilians and military personnel. The growth of Eastern economies such as China, India, and Korea coupled with South American investors such as Venezuela have moved Cuba off their post-cold war island. Off-shore drilling off the coast of Varadero by Canadian oil companies has also provided a huge injection. I’ve been to Cuba about 8 times in the past 6 years every more recent time show a more Western looking society coupled with large infrastructure projects such as transportation and building restoration. Don’t know if it’s Raoul or Raoul with Fidel running things in the background (ala Medvedev/Putin), but in any event, it seems like Cuba are striking while the “iron i hot” in brokering economic ties with the non-Occidental revolution. As a correlation, I believe we will see a huge uplift in the standard of living in Caribbean and South American countries in the next 10-15 years. Stay tuned…

  2. Thanks for the feedback Drago! Your insight’s always welcome.

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