Cuba’s New, Old Inequalities – Results of an Empirical Survey, Explanations and Perspectives




08:30 a.m. (UTC)

Picture of eldery woman carrying a picture
© Reuters / Alexandre Meneghini

  • Three decades of crisis and reform have changed the once relatively egalitarian society of Cuba. New inequalities have emerged, which in many ways have revived the old inequalities of Cuban society from before the 1959 revolution. This is because it was above all the former, mostly “white” upper and middle class that left the island. Having access to remittances from abroad is now a crucial factor for living standards and economic opportunities in Cuba, especially given the opening to small private enterprises whose seed capital comes mostly from relatives in the US or Europe. While integration mechanisms such as a universally available school and health system still exist, socialist Cuba is currently experiencing a worrying re-stratification of society in terms of skin colour and pre-revolutionary status.

    The GIGA Talk will present the results of a GIGA research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), which for the first time documents comprehensive data about new, old inequalities based on a unique survey of more than 1,000 Cubans in Cuba. Causes as well as perspectives and possible countermeasures will then be discussed.

    Speakers: Prof. Bert Hoffmann is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies, head of the GIGA Berlin Office, a professor of political science at the Freie Universität Berlin, and author of numerous works on Cuba. His most recent publication is the GIGA Focus Latin America 2/2018 “Cuba after Raúl: The pressure to reform remains high”.

    Prof. Katrin Hansing is a senior research fellow at the GIGA and in collaboration with Prof. Bert Hoffmann principal investigator of the GIGA project „The Return of Race-based Inequalities in Contemporary Cuba: Analysing the Impact of Past Migration and Current Reforms”. She teaches sociology and anthropology at the City University of New York and has been researching Cuba for many years. Her most recent publication is “Race and Rising Inequality in Cuba”, in: Current History, February 2018.

    Commentary: Udo Volz, Federal Foreign Office

    There will be a breakfast buffet available from 8:30 a.m. The presentation and discussion will begin at 9:00 a.m.

    Please confirm your attendance by 27 August 2018 by sending an e-mail to

    The Chatham House Rule applies to this event. Unfortunately, the venue is not wheelchair accessible.


    GIGA Berlin, Berlin




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