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The Economic Quest For The Development Of Cuba

5019 words - 20 pages

The Economic Quest for the Development of Cuba

Introduction:

To state lightly, Americans generally frown upon communist countries. Though there are the obvious grievances of political and ideological differences that will not be discussed in this paper, the opinions with respect to the economy have also sparked heated discourse. Those that are capitalists feel that without a free market and the power of the invisible hand, the economy will not be efficient and eventually crumble. And in most cases, this assumption was true in the twentieth century. But with Cuba, a red country, communism may not be the major factor to blame at the present. Some feel Cuba has not focused enough on industrial growth, while others say it is the lack of physical capital combined with Cuba´s inability to attract foreign direct investment. Yet most agree that as a small third world country in today´s global economy, Cuba is facing many challenges to keep up with the pace of the world. In spite of its current condition, this country still has significant economic potential.

In reality, it is quite astounding to look upon Cuba and what this small country has had to encounter in the past fifteen years. At the start of the 1990´s, an economic crisis struck Cuba. When the Soviet Union collapsed and the socialist bloc disappeared, Cuba, being heavily reliant on this alliance, suffered immense economic consequences. The Soviet Union was Cuba´s trading partner and vital contributor through investments, provision of resources and technology. Because of their socialist relationship, eighty-five percent of Cuba´s trade[,...] including sugar and citrus fruit [was with the Soviet Union, while at the same time] eighty-eight percent of Cuba´s imports were imported from the Soviet Union (Saney 21). As this relationship ceased, combined with the strengthening of the U.S.´s sanctions against Cuba in 1996, Cuba was forced to modify its economy.

Appropriately, the 1990s proved to be a decade of great economic change in Cuba. Some of these transitions have been thoroughly examined, especially Cuba´s transformation of its traditionally central planned economy into a more decentralized system. Many economists also highlight Cuba´s loss of external funding during this period. This was important because it forced Cuba to establish more commercial credit and foreign investment, rather than rely on essentially free funds. However, the most profound change of the 1990s was probably the change in the country´s export profile. In the past decade the change in supply of Cuban products to the international market has been the most revolutionary period since sugar became the primary export at the end of the eighteenth century. This adjustment in Cuba´s economic structure emphasized the expansion of the tourist industry to a level where it succeeded in displacing sugar as the main source of gross revenue. (Grogg 1).

This era of Cuban economic history, although...

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