What is the Cuban economic situation during the pandemic?

The pandemic caused many unexpected changes in Cuban territory. How is the crisis affecting the economic and humanitarian situation? .

View of a busy street in Havana, Cuba

The current health emergency is affecting the economic and humanitarian situation in Cuba. / Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: ¿Cuál es la situación económica de Cuba durante la pandemia?

The coronavirus is keeping the planet in check, including Latin America. At first, some regions showed encouraging numbers, as was the case of Cuba. According to Clarín, the communist regime had "its recipe", thanks to biotechnology, a strong public health system and door-to-door tracking, without any private interest behind it.

Although at the beginning the numbers sounded encouraging, the last time they began to generate concerns in the region. From Infobae they emphasize that a "record number in autochthonous cases in one day" was reported, with 92 new infections, of which 91 are from citizens of the island.

Although the numbers of infections still seem to be favorable unlike what happens in other territories, many wonder what happens in economic matters. From The New York Times they warn that the pandemic "aggravates the economic situation in Cuba". Let's see what this implies. 

The economic situation of Cuba and the coronavirus

As we mentioned, the first thing that should be analyzed is the issue of contagion, which is essential to understand the current economic situation. From the Telesur TV website they mention that it was asked to raise the "individual responsibility" against COVID-19, because each person has control of the pandemic in their hands.

All this causes the NUSO media to highlight that a "Cuban economic puzzle is generated in the face of the pandemic." In other words, although the external purchases of the countries are fundamental to sustain consumption and production, the Cuban situation is unique in the world, since it worsens the precarious state of the island's balance of payments.

This is seen, especially, in the economic contraction of most countries, which generates a lower external demand. Most of the exports are related to the area of health and people, although the rest of the scenario seems to be unfavorable for a territory that has a strong health perspective, but is not knowing how to take advantage of it.

It is a country that, in addition, earns a great profit from tourism. So much so that, according to the Escambray website, they decided to "prioritize attention to tourism", reorganizing the activity under strict security and protection measures. It is a totally necessary challenge, where the focus no longer seems to be focused on extreme hygiene safety, but on the economic need of its inhabitants.

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From Cubanet they also report the “worst food crisis in 25 years”. As we had mentioned, the island had already had problems in 2019 with the supply of basic necessities. However, the current productive unemployment implies that people, currently, go to the markets to buy "anything", where there are products that are no longer in abundance, such as toothpaste or canned meat.

All this context is causing unexpected changes within the territory, which always tried to bet on self-sufficiency. One of them occurs, as the RFI website reveals, in an attempt to evade the crisis with a “partial dollarization of the economy”. In other words, stores began to be set up to sell basic necessities in dollars, euros and other currencies.

With this complex panorama, the uncertainty for the future is very great. For example, from DW they speak of an "inevitable economic collapse", in the sense that there is a significant stoppage in local production, as is the case with agriculture. Therefore, it remains to be seen how Cuba seeks to solve its problems, both in economic and health matters.

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