Cuba is currently experiencing their worst since the 1990s
2011 - "The hunger of Cuba's 11 million people has reached a critical level."
2019 - "Practically nothing is being sold... there isn’t any meat, or chickpeas, or hot dogs, or chocolate, or crackers, or bread being sold."
2021 - "Cubans stand for hours in line to buy basic goods such as chicken or bread, or even to take a bus. The island is increasingly hit by hours-long electricity outages."
The cause: Cuba's very weak economy looks like this:
- It exports almost all of its production (~ $1b in 2019)
- It imports upwards of 70% of its food supply (~ $5b in 2019)
- It relies on tourism to compensate for the above
The lack of tourism and rise in global inflation exacerbated Cuba's existing problems.
Economists blame Cuba's reluctance to reform the economic system (which is fully controlled by the regime). Intense regulations stifle productivity. An example: farmers aren't allowed to slaughter animals for food without weeks of legal paperwork. This economic underperformance is historically common for Communist economies.
The Cuban government blames the U.S. embargo (even though the embargo exempts food) and the pandemic (even though these shortages are not new).
Despite having a universal healthcare system,
- There are severe shortages of important medical supplies.
- There are shortages of over 44 key medicines (such as antibiotics, antihypertensive drugs, asthma medicine, antiviral drugs, etc). This has been happening since before the pandemic.
- There is a lack of medical care and doctors due to Cuba exporting them.
The Cuban regime is also blocking humanitarian aid from reaching its people. A human rights organization sent aid to Cubans which was blocked by the regime.
There's No Freedom
- At least 140 Cubans were reportedly detained or disappeared.
- Officials are arresting dissenters in their homes.
- Journalists are being detained.
- Internet access was temporarily shut down in Cuba.
- No freedom of speech.
- No real voting rights.
Cuban demonstrators, showing their hopes for the movement, shout "Freedom!" and carry United States flags.