The current migration crisis in Cuba, mainly involving Cubans’ flow to the United States, entails a number of negative effects for the country. Economic and political life is impacted by the mass exodus, and the toll it leaves behind is gradually increasing the underlying reasons for the exodus.
According to data from experts on demographic structure, no significant increase in the country’s GDP growth rate can be expected. Employment, in any country, but specially in an impoverished and underdeveloped country as is Cuba, is a key element in the production for development. The government’s inefficient economic management has been accompanied by a decrease in available workforce to perform all kinds of projects. Investments have been focused on the real estate sector, but not on the residential fund. At the same time, essential production sectors – such as agriculture – have been neglected.
Structural effects of the mass exodus
Cuba’s priority task is to tackle its current structural crisis, and for this it is essential for domestic product to experience higher rates of growth, especially in the productive sectors. Unfortunately, the country’s GDP in 2017-2021 had an average annual change of -1.3%. In 2020, GDP shrank by 10.9% as a result of the pandemic, while recovering by only 1.3% in 2021.
On the other hand, the year-on-year growth for the first half of 2022 was 10.9%, while for the same period in 2021 it was 12.7%. This shows that the country has not yet recovered from the sharp fall in its GDP in 2020. In the second half of 2022, the growth was 1.7% compared to the same period of the previous year.
According to data compiled by experts, the gross sectoral output shrank in the first half of the year. The sectors most affected and of major importance for the country’s economic sustenance are: agriculture, the sugar industry, fisheries, electricity, water and gas supply, among other sectors. In the following months, public health and retail trade experienced declines in productivity. The most encouraging results can be found in the construction, business services and real estate sectors.
Mass exodus as evidence of the Cuban government’s failure
In such an adverse scenario, massive migration of Cubans to other countries in the world, mainly to the United States, only worsens these conditions. Tax contributions and the pension system are only some of the areas heavily affected by the relentless migration of thousands of Cubans each year. Unlike one might expect, remittances will not necessarily increase remittances in the short term, and although they may do so somewhat in the mid-term, the country is facing a critical situation requiring immediate solutions.
This mass exodus provides clear evidence for the failure of the current Cuban system of government, a system that has imposed its will over the viability of the country itself and its people for decades. Young people have no prospects of a better future in their own country and therefore they represent a sector of the population who emigrate massively looking for other opportunities, bringing with them the hopes and expectations of recovery of a country that is aging and not finding a feasible way out of its current crisis.
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