This is a new work that I recently sended to the Ideas for Cuba contest. The main topic is how to fight Cuban poverty.
Poverty is one of the topics that has been the focus of more
The social studies of the last decades. The growing interest in the analysis
Of its causes and consequences for human development, the debate is united in
Economic and social policies necessary for its eradication.
The Cuban case is particular in the sense that poverty is not a phenomenon recognized officially by the government or by the mass media of the state. However, it becomes evident when formulating an analysis of the economic situation and social inequality.
An immediate case is agriculture. In 2015, out of a total of 6,240,300 hectares of agricultural land, only 2 733 600 hectares of agricultural land were cultivated. Productivity levels, although fluctuating, have worsened in practically all agricultural indicators. Specifically, of 3 162 000 tonnes of viands produced in 2004, 2 633 618 were produced in 2015. That year 2 424 163 tonnes of vegetables were produced, although the 2004 production was 4 095 900. In 2003, 1075 800 tonnes Of cereals, but that figure dropped to 781 058 tonnes in 2015. The production of legumes fell to 117 556 tonnes in 2015 from 135 545 tonnes produced the previous year. In 1986 the tobacco yielded 45 604 tonnes, but in 2015 only 24 500 were produced. Citrus also has a decadent situation, taking into account that from 1 015 873 tonnes collected in 1990, the figure is markedly reduced to 115 384.
Livestock lives in a similar situation because from 5 019 500 head of cattle in 1985, by 2015 the amount was reduced to 4 045 900. As a result, the production of cows’ milk has decreased from 1 131 300 tonnes in 1989 to 493 900 tonnes in 2015. Heads of pigs have been reduced from 1 878 600 in 2008 to 1 704 800 in 2015. Egg production has fallen from 2 866 900 units in 1991 to 2 321 200 in 2015. In the case of Honey has lowered production from 9.7 tons in 1988 to 7.3 in 2015.
The fishing has not been different. From a total gross catch of 59 109 500 tonnes of fish in 2001, the figure is reduced to 45 019 000 in 2015. For the lobster of 7 969 500 tonnes in 2002, the indicator declines to 4 035 400 by 2015. In the case Of shrimp, of 1 582 200 tonnes taken from the sea in 2005, the quantity falls to 917 500 after ten years.
However, the economic situation becomes more poignant when comparing industrial indicators. Taking the year 1989 (year in which the Berlin Wall collapsed) and the year 2015 as references, the figures do not recover after 26 years. Analyzing physical volumes of certain sectors, it is observed that the sugar manufacturing industry of 2015 produced 23.6% of that of 1989. The production of foodstuffs was 77.5% and that of tobacco products was 87, 7%. The manufacture of textiles was only 14.9% influencing the production of clothing outside of 20.3%. The processing of leather and manufacture of leather goods was 39.3%. The production of wood and wood products production was only 9.8%, impacting on the fact that the production of paper and paper products was 9.6%. The activity of editing and printing and reproduction of recordings was reduced to 23.9%. The manufacture of fertilizers and nitrogen compounds was of a very small 8.7% (this explains in part the behavior of the agricultural industry). The production of rubber and plastic products was 22.6% and that of other non-metallic mineral products in general was 10.4%. Construction products fell to 29.9%, impacting negatively on the housing sector. The production of common metals fell to 78.9%, affecting the manufacturing of metal products (except machinery and equipment) to 26.9%. For the particular case of the manufacture of machinery and equipment, this indicator fell to the negligible figure of 0.2% (basically this industry does not exist) and for electrical appliances, the value declined to 31.8%. For radio, television and communication devices, manufacturing fell to 37.8%. In the sector of medical, optical and precision instruments the indicator is reduced to 72.4%. Finally, the manufacture of transport equipment in 2015 was 1.8% of the production of the same in 1989.
In the case of construction, the trend has not been positive. In 2006, a total of 111,373 homes were built and, over time, this indicator has been reduced year by year until it drops to 23,003 new homes by 2015. It is known that the housing deficit in the most notable cities as measured Which increase migration from rural areas. However, building new homes does not solve the problem as the indicator is reduced.
It is remarkable how the weakening of economic conditions negatively impacts society and generates the first order of poverty in absolute terms. However, when taking into account other internal factors, there are significant differences in the living standards of certain social groups, and in this way, when analyzing relative poverty, we cannot detach ourselves from economic inequality.
Economic inequality arises from the income disparities of individuals, which occur in the face of the contrasting variations of what is paid as a product of labor and capital. The Gini coefficient is the indicator used to measure this divergence. It is a number between 0 and 1, where 0 corresponds to a perfect equality (where everyone has the same income) and 1 corresponds to a perfect inequality (where one person has all the wealth and all others have no income).
It is worth noting that Cuba had a Gini coefficient of 0.22 in 1986, but since the 1990s it has been increasing steadily until reaching 0.38 in 2002. Something truly alarming is that since then this indicator has been left out of calculation. This leads one to think that the Cuban government does not want to recognize the state of national inequality. Perhaps for the same reason that our country is unique in the world by not having a mechanism that allows it to determine the number of people living in poverty, according to an established criterion that allows it to design social programs.
It is crucial to recognize the situations that affect our nation because this is precisely the first elementary step that puts us in the position to formulate ideas and alternatives to fight the problems. It is very sad that in the dozens of speeches pronounced a year, the terms inequality and poverty are completely banished from the political vocabulary, even though at present they are the concepts most approached by international institutions such as the United Nations and the Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development. This means in the first instance that the competent figures of the Cuban government do not have the perspective capable of facing the challenge of growing the economy and reducing inequality to fight poverty. But the present work has it. So pay attention.
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