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Causes and consequences of Cuban migration: social crisis

Jan 10 , 2024

According to official figures from the US Customs and Border Protection, hundreds of thousands of Cubans have entered the United States since 2021. Reflecting the social, political and economic crisis in Cuba, this is the largest wave of migration in the island’s history. Some of the causes and consequences of Cuban migration and the underlying social crisis are analysed in today’s article

Contextualizing the Cuban migration crisis.

There are many reasons that have led to the exodus of Cubans to the United States. On the one hand, the determining factor in Cuban migration is the economic crisis, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic Tourism, Cuba’s main source of income, has been affected by restrictions on mobility. In addition, according to experts, the Cuban government has failed to manage the crisis in an adequate way.

Political tensions within the island are also a catalyst for many Cubans to leave the country. From July 2021, this scenario becomes increasingly critical. This, together with the fact that the United States and other countries have imposed economic sanctions that limit trade and business relations, is another scenario that increases the circumstances leading to the increase in Cuban migration

Cuba is in a state of marked social degradation, where impoverishment, scarcity, inequality and social precariousness are endemic, as well as a climate of hopelessness in which people find solace mainly in the possibility of leaving the country.

Some analysis of the migration crisis

Statistics shared in multiple media outlets indicate that hundreds of thousands of people have set foot on US soil since 2021. Many take dangerous routes, such as trekking through Central America from Nicaragua or the deadly Florida Straits route.

Those who have risked their lives and paid very high fees to traffickers are often very desperate. Most of the migrants were young people, suitable for stable employment status and a large number of professionals. These dangerous journeys are undertaken by a similar number of children and elderly people.

In Cuba, the authorities offer no public data or studies on this crisis, and statistics are confusing because they count many people who live and work in other countries as residents of the island. Meanwhile, the island’s total population has declined significantly over the past decade, according to figures from the National Statistics and Information Office (ONEI).

According to the ONEI itself, by 2035 the elderly will represent 32.5% of the total population, those of school age 15.2% and those aged between fifteen and fifty-nine only 52.3%. This data gives a dependency ratio of 909 per thousand, which is terrible for the country’s productive potential.

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