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Cuba's new social structure: Assessing the re-stratification of Cuban society 60 years after revolution

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  • Hansing, Katrin
  • Hoffmann, Bert

Abstract

Few political transformations have attacked social inequalities more thoroughly than the 1959 Cuban Revolution. However, as the survey data in this paper shows, 60 years on, structural inequalities which echo the pre-revolutionary socio-ethnic hierarchies are returning. While official Cuban statistics are mute about social differences along racial lines, the authors were able to conduct a unique, nationwide survey which shows the contrary. If the revolutionary, state-run economy and radical social policies were the main social elevators for the formerly underprivileged classes in socialist Cuba, the economic crisis and depressed wages of the past decades have seriously undercut these achievements. Moreover, previously racialised migration patterns have produced highly unequal levels of access to family remittances, and the gradual opening of the private business sector in Cuba has largely disfavoured Afro-Cubans, due to their lack of access to pre-revolutionary property and remittances in the form of start-up capital. While social and racial inequalities have not yet reached the levels of other Latin American countries, behind the face of socialist continuity a profound restructuring of Cuban society is taking place.

Suggested Citation

  • Hansing, Katrin & Hoffmann, Bert, 2019. "Cuba's new social structure: Assessing the re-stratification of Cuban society 60 years after revolution," GIGA Working Papers 315, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gigawp:315
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hoffmann, Bert, 2005. "Emigration and Regime Stability: Explaining the Persistence of Cuban Socialism," GIGA Working Papers 2, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    2. Abdih, Yasser & Chami, Ralph & Dagher, Jihad & Montiel, Peter, 2012. "Remittances and Institutions: Are Remittances a Curse?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 657-666.
    3. Bert Hoffmann, 2016. "Bureaucratic socialism in reform mode: the changing politics of Cuba’s post-Fidel era," Third World Quarterly, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(9), pages 1730-1744, September.
    4. Poirine, Bernard, 1997. "A theory of remittances as an implicit family loan arrangement," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 589-611, January.
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    Keywords

    Cuba; social inequality; race; socialism; migration; remittances;
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