Cuba is a small island with a few million inhabitants across the coast of Florida in the US. But what has happened for the past 50 years in that island and what has been inspired by these events and by the leaders of the Cuban revolution is phenomenal. The way this little country has managed to defy odd after tremendous odd in ensuring a socialist and a welfare setup, marked giant leaps in healthcare, education and overall well being of its populace - are all stories that need not be repeated.
Having said that, the Cuban state has been perennially beset with challenges, the major of which was amplified after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The loss of a huge set of trading partners in the European socialist bloc, ensured that the Cuban economy was stuck by a tsunami like setback, a blow that burdened an already US sponsored embargo laden nation.
What was done by the Cubans to mitigate the blow? What were the steps taken to recover from the sudden loss of 80% of its outside market for exports and imports of vital commodities? What has been the Cuban's strategy to retain their socialist achievements in healthcare and education even in the face of such new and tremendous difficulties? What have been the new challenges that have emerged because of these strategies?
All this and more are answered in this article by Elda Molina Diaz. Molina Díaz is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Research on International Economics, Havana University, Cuba. The abstract of the article reads thus:
The collapse of the European socialist block at the end of the 1980s caused a deep crisis in the Cuban economy. One of the distinctive features of the process of adjustment and reform of the Cuban economy carried out by the government was that even during the worst period of the crisis, the Revolution's main social achievements in education, healthcare and social security were preserved. At the same time, the measures introduced by the government succeeded in the following areas: resumption of economic growth; sectoral diversification and reinsertion into the world markets; and partial correction of some key internal economic imbalances. While the government is involved in the design of several economic policy measures to face the remaining challenges, the preservation of the social achievements and the prevalence of state property in most relevant economic sectors have been confirmed as key strategic principles.