Social and economic problems in Cuba during the crisis and subsequent recovery
Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Pittsburgh
Up to 1989, social policy in Cuba achieved very notable advances in education, health, social security, employment and income distribution. The collapse of the socialist bloc and other internal and external factors, however, gave rise to a severe crisis, which reached its bottom in 1993 and led to a deterioration in almost all the social indicators. The modest market-oriented reforms introduced in 1993-1996 generated a partial recovery but were later interrupted and have been reversed since 2003. The social indicators improved after 1994, but in 2003 some of them had still not regained their 1989 levels and poverty and inequality had increased. This article evaluates the economic and especially the social evolution of Cuba between 1989 and 2004, on the basis of Cuban statistics and publications, ECLAC documents, and a recent study of economic and social aspects in 1997-2002 jointly published by ECLAC, the National Economic Research Institute of Cuba, and the United Nations Development Programme.