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. Katrin Hansingis an associate professor of anthropology at City University New York (CUNY) and a senior research fellow at the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies. Prior to joining CUNY she was the associate director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University. Katrin has spent the past 20 years conducting research on issues of “race,” inequality, migration, transnational ties, and youth in Cuba and its diaspora.

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann

Head GIGA Berlin Office
Senior Research Fellow

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies, head of the GIGA Berlin Office, and a professor of political science at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is the author of numerous scientific publications on the political and economic development of Cuba.

Recent Publications by the Authors

Katrin Hansing / Bert Hoffmann

Cuban Society: Becoming More Unequal, Connected and Diverse

in: Philip Brenner / Marguerite Rose Jiménez / John M. Kirk / William M. LeoGrande (eds.), A Contemporary Cuba Reader: The Revolution Under Raúl Castro, 2nd ed., London: Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming

Luicy Pedroza / Pau Palop / Bert Hoffmann

Políticas hacia Emigrantes en América Latina y el Caribe

Santiago de Chile: FLASCO Chile, 2018

Katrin Hansing

Race and Inequality in Cuba

Current History, 117, 2018, 796, 69-72

Bert Hoffmann

Cuba after Raúl: Pressure for Reforms Remains High

GIGA Focus Latin America, 02/2018