Katrin Hansing / Bert Hoffmann

Cuba's New Social Structure: Assessing the Re-Stratification of Cuban Society 60 Years after Revolution

GIGA Working Paper, No. 315, February 2019

Abstract
Few political transformations have attacked social inequalities more thoroughly than the 1959 Cuban Revolution. However, as the survey data in this paper shows, 60 years on, structural inequalities which echo the pre-revolutionary socio-ethnic hierarchies are returning. While official Cuban statistics are mute about social differences along racial lines, the authors were able to conduct a unique, nationwide survey which shows the contrary. If the revolutionary, state-run economy and radical social policies were the main social elevators for the formerly underprivileged classes in socialist Cuba, the economic crisis and depressed wages of the past decades have seriously undercut these achievements. Moreover, previously racialised migration patterns have produced highly unequal levels of access to family remittances, and the gradual opening of the private business sector in Cuba has largely disfavoured Afro-Cubans, due to their lack of access to pre-revolutionary property and remittances in the form of start-up capital. While social and racial inequalities have not yet reached the levels of other Latin American countries, behind the face of socialist continuity a profound restructuring of Cuban society is taking place.

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GIGA Authors

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann

Head GIGA Berlin Office
Lead Research Fellow

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann is a Lead Research Fellow at the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies, Head of the GIGA Berlin Office, and Professor of Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is Senior Researcher in the EU-funded Jean Monnet Network project “Europe–Cuba Forum” and coordinated the Forum’s 2020 working paper series, “Institutional reform and social policies”.

Recent Publications by the Authors

Merike Blofield / Bert Hoffmann

Social Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis and the Road Ahead

GIGA Focus Latin America, 07/2020

Bert Hoffmann

Repressed memory: Rethinking the impact of Latin America’s forgotten pandemics

European Review of Latin American and European Studies, 2020, 109, 203-211

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Fluch der Karibik

Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft, 2020