Cuban Economics Essay

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Modern Cuba is a country born of struggle. The revolutionary movement that formed the modern day government has remained in power for more than forty years. Indeed, the Cuban government is perhaps one of the most stable governments in the region. This fact is made even more evident by the recent fall of democracy in Haiti. However, the past ten years has seen a marked change in Cuban economic policy. Ostracized from the international community and faced with an embargo imposed by the United States, Cuba has turned to various sources of economic reform in order to survive in a global market.

Background (1959 – 1991)

During the early period after the revolution, Cuba’s primary economic base was based upon one
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187, 210). During this time period, Cuba depended on the Soviet Union for 98 percent of its oil and seventy-five percent of its total energy needs (Theirot, pgs. 258).

Despite Cuban economic woes, the Cubans did enjoy some success in other areas. First, the redistribution of wealth was responsible for reducing malnutrition. Second, the Cuban government established a national health care system that rivaled even developed countries. Third, the Cuban government developed a multilevel educational system that resulted in the near complete elimination of illiteracy. And fourth, the Cuban population was infused with a strong sense of nationalistic pride (Theirot, pgs. 257-258).

At the social level, the Cubans managed to address some of the basic problems plaguing other Third-World countries such as hunger, health, and education. However, at the economic level, Cuba still had a long way to go and the need to address economic issues became urgent on the eve of the fall of the Soviet Union. It is this environment of economic decline and political uncertainty that greeted the Cuban Fourth Party Congress in 1991.

Transition Point – Fourth Party Congress (1991)

Since the 1975, the Cuban Communist Party (Partido Comunista de Cuba, PCC) held a series of meetings known as the Party Congresses. These meetings generally served to celebrate Cuba’s participation in a revolution against
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