September 11, 2021

SOCIETY 

The largest of the carribean islands, Cuba is situated between the Carribean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The country is made up of 15 provinces, and its capital and most populous city is Havana, or “Habana” in Spanish.1 The geographic coordinates of Cuba are 21°30 N, 80°00 W.2 The country has a total area […]
The largest of the carribean islands, Cuba is situated between the Carribean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The country is made up of 15 provinces, and its capital and most populous city is Havana, or “Habana” in Spanish.1 The geographic coordinates of Cuba are 21°30 N, 80°00 W.2 The country has a total area of 110 860 km2 of which more than 99% is land. As is common, the territorial sea claim extends 12 nautical miles from Cuba’s shores. The country has an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles, which is negotiated at relevant intersections between the surrounding countries.3 Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus and the European empire, in 1492. Over the following centuries Cuba developed as a Spanish colony until gaining independence. During its colonial years, Havana became the departure point for ships travelling to Spain from Mexico and Peru. In 1898 Cuba gained independence from Spain, and three and a half years later freed itself from American rule in 1902.4
The publisher needs to declare that this article doesn‘t want to negate the fact, that certainly there was a pre-colonial society.  
The main language is Spanish, and the currency is the Cuban Peso. Cubans operate on CST (Cuba Standard Time), which is UTC -5. The international country code for telecommunication is +53,  and the internet country code or extension is ‘.cu’.5 Cuba currently has a population of approximately 11,3 million people.6 The population is presently declining, with population growth rates in 2018 recorded to be -0,27%.7      Cuba is a communist state, and has undergone recent changes in leadership. The current president is Miguel Díaz-Canel, who has been in office since October 2019. The current Prime Minister is Manuel Marrero Cruz, who occupies a position which has not been filled in 43 years.8 Cuba has a notable high levels of literacy, education and healthcare, according to the 1999 Human Development Index (HDI), which analyses longevity, knowledge, and quality of life across the globe.9 The life expectancy of those living in Cuba is high, at 79 years, and the unemployment rate is very low, at 2.6% in 2017.10 Although the government guarantees employment for most of its citizens, there is still poverty in Cuba.11  Cuba has a thriving agricultural sector, with over 60% of land being used for this purpose. However, the country has a large urban population, and a high rate of urbanization, with nearly 80% of citizens living in urban areas.12 The capital city of Havana has a  population of over 2 million people.13 In July 2018 it was recorded that just over half the population were current ‘internet users’. Though it is essential to note that “intranet” access is controlled by the government, with firewalls and limited email access.14 Private citizens are not allowed to purchase computers or access the internet without special authorization.15     Migration is a poignant topic in relation to Cuba. The net migration rate, meaning the difference between those immigrating and emigrating, was recorded at -1,152 per 1000 population  in 2020.16 Cuban exodus has been  oriented primarily towards the United States of America. Indeed, the two countries are only separated by 180 kilometres of ocean.17 The 1959 Cuban revolution documented the largest flow of refugees into the United States in history, as nearly 1,4 million people fled Cuba. 18 According to American authorities, the “illicit” migration of Cuban nationals to the USA has recently decreased. The two countries have signed a joint statement ending the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, which allowed those who reached US soil to stay there.19 Apparently, “migration by sea has since dropped significantly, but land border crossings continue.”20 Cuba and the US have had a long and complicated relationship. Cuba continues to cite the US embargo, in place since 1961, as a major source of economic difficulties. In 2015, Cuban and US embassies reopened in their respective countries, but the relationship remains tense, according to American sources. However, there is a wide range of transnational social, religions and cultural ties between the networks of Cubans living in Cuba, and those who have emigrated to America, “of which family visits and the sending of remittances are the most visible.”21 These communities are much more closely connected than is widely publicly acknowledged.22 The country suffered great economic difficulties in the 1990s following the withdrawal of former soviet subsidies.23 Currently the government is slowly deviating from its socialist economic system with the gradual opening up of private sector activities.24 In terms of travelling from Cuba, the migration law reform in 2013 has eliminated most domestic administrative hurdles for those wanting to leave the island. “Since then travel has increased greatly.”25 Although, it is important to note that Cuban passports are extremely expensive.26 One article, entitled “The cost of the passport is the biggest obstacle to travel of Cuban citizens” stated that passports cost more than three times the average monthly salary.27 In Cuba’s 1976 constitution, Article 32 states: “Dual citizenship is not admitted. As a consequence, if a foreign citizenship is acquired, the Cuban citizenship will be lost.”28 In reality, however, it seems to be accepted that many Cubans have more than one passport, which they make use of when outside the country.29     In terms of travelling to Cuba, the country has seen a rapid growth in tourism in the last 20 years.30 This has also improved since the US policy for travel to Cuba changed in 2015.31 This recent growth of tourism to the island has driven the wedge of inequality, and specifically racial inequalities, deeper.32 All hotels are run by the state, and so many visitors rather opt for “casa particulares”, privately-run B&Bs.33 These are typically run by the more privileged in Cuba; those who have access to private funding.34      A research paper, which highlights the “widening socio-economic gap”35 not often reported by the Cuban government says that both social and racial inequality are currently increasing.36 As the overcoming of these forms of discrimination was at the core of the revolutionary project, the government, and Cuba’s National Office of Statistics (ONE) tend to publish very little data on this topic.37 It would have a number of immediate political implications.38 In recent years, it has been stated that “social and racial inequalities are rapidly increasing in Cuba.”39 According to a study, “the inequalities that have opened up in Cuban society are profoundly marked by race.”40 Census data tell us that “Afro-Cubans – blacks, mulatos, and mestizos”41 represent almost a third of the population. However, if one looks at the communities of Cubans living abroad, Afro-Cubans only make up a very small portion of that number. This is significant when looking at the disparity between the receival of remittance (money from family members overseas), in terms of race. Because most Afro-Cubans do not have family living abroad, they do not receive any additional funding. And within the economic structure of a communist state, that sort of funding tends to make a significant difference. In the current development of the Cuban society, the structural racial bias seems to be regressing.42 As the economy evolves, black Cubans have less access to foreign currency and the emerging opportunities associated with tourism and self-employment.43     In the graph entitled ‘Reasons for Not Receiving Remittances by Race‘, a third category emerged during the research. Almost two thirds of white people without remittances said that they do not receive money because they do not need it. This group stated that they  “are fine” (“estoy bien”).44 Not one Afro-Cuban appeared to be in this situation. 45     Cuba seems to see a contradiction in Gender-related issues. Women make up a substantial portion of the workforce, and at least 50% of doctors are women, a usually male-dominated profession.46 Although, women are still grossly underrepresented in any positions of power, especially in government.47     Contraception is freely available, as are legal abortions for women over the age of 16.48 However, domestic violence is currently not classified as a distinct type of violence in Cuba, and consequently cases of domestic abuse are not often brought to justice.49  Racial and gender-based issues often seem to go hand-in-hand. The situation has been noted as “especially difficult” for Afro-Cuban women, who receive the lowest pay and have the highest rate of unemployment.50 Thankfully, “women’s issues are beginning to gain traction in the Cuban socio-cultural discussion.”51     
article written by KROPACHEVA, EKATERINA, SCHWEIZER, NIKITA
   

SOURCES

1. CIA. 2020. “Central America: Cuba” (25/11/2010) www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cu.html  2. Ibid. 3. United States Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. 1990. “Limits in the Seas, No. 110, Maritime Boundary Cuba – United States” (01/12/2020) www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/LIS-110.pdf 4. CIA. 2020. “Central America: Cuba” (25/11/2010) www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cu.html 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Patrick Oppmann and Ralph Ellis. 2019. “Cuba Appoints A Prime Minister For The First Time In 43 Years.” CNN.  (01/12/2020) https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/21/americas/cuba-appoints-prime-minister/index.html 9. Mesa-Lago, Carmelo. 2002. Cuba in the Human Development Index in the 1990s: Decline, Rebound and Exclusion. (27/11/2010) www.researchgate.net/publication/237420846_Cuba_in_the_Human_Development_Index_in_the_1990s_Decline_Rebound_and_Exclusion 10. CIA. 2020. “Central America: Cuba” (25/11/2010) www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cu.html 11. Anywhere.com. 2020. “Cuba Guide Development & Society”. www.anywhere.com/cuba/travel-guide/development-society 12. Ibid. 13. CIA. 2020. “Central America: Cuba” (25/11/2010) www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cu.html 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17.bid. 18. Duany, 2020. “Cuban Migration: A Postrevolution Exodus Ebbs And Flows.“ (01/12/2020) www.migrationpolicy.org/article/cuban-migration-postrevolution-exodus-ebbs-and-flows?gclid=CjwKCAiA8Jf-BRB-EiwAWDtEGnQkuYgne4wzv7yAB0UNTSHW763i-DxhK33UUn6astHTMLC--J72dRoCRtcQAvD_BwE 19. CIA. 2020. “Central America: Cuba” (25/11/2010) www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cu.html 20. Ibid. 21. Cervantes-Rodríguez, M., and Portes A. 2011. International Migration in Cuba: Accumulation, Imperial Designs, and Transnational Social Fields, Penn State University Press. 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. 24. PCC [Partido Comunista de Cuba]. 2011. “Lineamientos de la política económica y social del Partido y la Revolución, La Habana: PCC” 25. Katrin Hansing and Bert Hoffmann. 2019. “Cuba’s New Social Structure: Assessing the Re-Stratification of Cuban Society 60 Years after Revolution.“ GIGA Working Papers. (01/12/2020) https://www.giga-hamburg.de/en/system/files/publications/wp315_hansing-hoffmann.pdf 26. Anywhere.com. 2020. “Cuba Guide Development & Society”. www.anywhere.com/cuba/travel-guide/development-society 27. Cuba Headlines. 2020. “The Cost Of The Passport Is The Biggest Obstacle To Travel Of Cuban Citizens.“ (01/12/2020) www.cubaheadlines.com/2019-03-18-p1-the-cost-of-the-passport-is-the-biggest-obstacle-to-travel-of-cuban-citizensAccessed 2 December 2020 28. República de Cuba. 1992. (Orig. “No se admitirá la doble ciudadanía. En consecuencia, cuando se adquiera una ciudadanía extranjera, se perderá la cubana.”) 29 Katrin Hansing and Bert Hoffmann. 2019. “Cuba’s New Social Structure: Assessing the Re-Stratification of Cuban Society 60 Years after Revolution.“ GIGA Working Papers. (01/12/2020) https://www.giga-hamburg.de/en/system/files/publications/wp315_hansing-hoffmann.pdf 30. Everyculture.com. 2020. “Culture Of Cuba - History, People, Clothing, Women, Beliefs, Food, Customs, Family, Social.“ (01/12/2020) www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Cuba.html 31. Anywhere.com. 2020. “Cuba Guide Development & Society”. www.anywhere.com/cuba/travel-guide/development-society 32. Amherst.edu. 2020. (01/12/2020) www.amherst.edu/media/view/330383/original/Cuba%2BWilson%2BCenter.pdf 33. Anywhere.com. 2020. “Cuba Guide Development & Society”. www.anywhere.com/cuba/travel-guide/development-society 34. Katrin Hansing and Bert Hoffmann. 2019. “Cuba’s New Social Structure: Assessing the Re-Stratification of Cuban Society 60 Years after Revolution.“ GIGA Working Papers. (01/12/2020) https://www.giga-hamburg.de/en/system/files/publications/wp315_hansing-hoffmann.pdf 35. Ibid. 36. Ibid. 37. Ibid. 38. Ibid.  39. Ibid. 40. Ibid. 41. Raceandequality.org. 2020. CUBA – “Race And Equality.“  (01/12/2020) raceandequality.org/cuba/ 42. U.S. Census Bureau 2011: 14. According to these data, only 4.6 per cent define themselves as “black or AfroAmerican” while almost 10 per cent declare “some other race” or “of two or more races” (ibid.); it seems probable that many of the latter would, in the coding of the Cuban census, fall into the category of “mulattoes.” 43. Raceandequality.org. 2020. CUBA – “Race And Equality.“  (01/12/2020) raceandequality.org/cuba/ 44. Katrin Hansing and Bert Hoffmann. 2019. “Cuba’s New Social Structure: Assessing the Re-Stratification of Cuban Society 60 Years after Revolution.“ GIGA Working Papers. (01/12/2020) https://www.giga-hamburg.de/en/system/files/publications/wp315_hansing-hoffmann.pdf 45. Ibid. 46. Everyculture.com. 2020. “Culture Of Cuba - History, People, Clothing, Women, Beliefs, Food, Customs, Family, Social.“ (01/12/2020) www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Cuba.html 47. Ibid. 48. Ibid. 49. Anywhere.com. 2020. “Cuba Guide Development & Society”. www.anywhere.com/cuba/travel-guide/development-society 50. Inter Press Service. 2020. CUBA: Black Women Rap Against Discrimination. (01/12/2020) www.ipsnews.net/2007/08/cuba-black-women-rap-against-discrimination 51. Anywhere.com. 2020. “Cuba Guide Development & Society”. www.anywhere.com/cuba/travel-guide/development-society