Cuba has experienced major issues while building its economy. Over the last half century, the country has been engineering and correcting their system of government. However, Cuba has yet to become economically successful. During Fidel Castro’s regime, the country encountered issues with economic stability and agricultural growth. Cuba was experiencing issues with their sugar and other valuable crops which greatly contributed to the amount of exportation money.
Today, Cuba has a dual currency that is rarely used and never in global markets, and the annual GDP growth rate has been around a mere 1.7% for the last five years. Even with these new reforms, farmers in Cuba have very little freedom, and have seen little to no agricultural growth in the last ten years, left to import 70% of their food. The universal education and healthcare that Cuba had offered is still in place, but working wages are low and continue to decrease. Though Cuba has now chosen to begin adapting to the increasingly capitalistic nature of the global economy, the lasting effects of Fidel Castro’s regime has proved to make this process very slow going and difficult.
The embargo set in place by the United States, Cuba’s closest neighbor, also contributed to the lack of money coming into the country. This situation was not helped by Fidel Castro’s “reluctance to implement market-oriented reforms (he reversed them three times) and his tight control over the economy, government and the party.” When Castro inevitably stepped down, he left his brother Raúl with an extremely convoluted and impractical economic system. Raúl has recognized that change in the cuban government is necessary for evolution in a rapidly expanding world. Reform and recovery has been slow, taking an experimental approach. This is especially evident when looking at Cuba’s current economic status.