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Life in Cuba: Misunderstandings About Cuba

Cuba economy, minimum wage, Cuba living conditions, Cuba government, unemployment rate, job opportunities, Fidel Castro and Cuban revolution

Would a 10-year-old wonder about Cuba? You can be sure that I was curious about Cuba at that age. So I wanted to see and understand this country. My curiosity was more about living and living conditions in Cuba. People are often curious about the way Cuba is governed, but as I said, my main interest was in Cuba life and the Cuba economy. As you know, there are many sources about Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution. Of course, there is no shortage of resources about Che Guevara. But when you investigate what life is like in Cuba, it is really hard to find a proper source. I was able to see Cuba about 20 years after my first curiosity, and in the intervening 20 years, I researched a lot about Cuba and tried to learn from many sources. I read books, watched documentaries, but when I went to Cuba, I met a different country. What I saw had nothing to do with what I read and what I watched. I know that many people like me are curious about life in Cuba, the Cuba economy, and so on; So I decided to write this article.

 

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First of all, let’s answer this; why we don’t have enough resources about life in Cuba? In fact, there are resources, but most of them are political and therefore do not provide accurate information. Some of the resources; Cuba is very good and life is very comfortable. The other part tells that they are very poor and in need. Make sure they are both wrong. Let’s start by answering the two most frequently asked questions;

  1. Is Cuba rich? No!
  2. Is Cuba poor? No!
It may seem ridiculous that the answer to both questions is “no”. We can explain this: Cuba has everything. But there is enough to meet the needs of the people, and the Cuban people have no more than they need. If you’re one of those who think that wealth is what you need, Cuba is a rich country. If you disagree with this view and wealth means a luxurious life for you, Cuba is a poor country.

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Life in Cuba: Cuban Living Conditions

Is Cuba rich? or is Cuba poor? by asking these questions, it’s really hard for you to understand people’s lives, because as I said, the answer depends on the person. Therefore, it is necessary to look at what the people living there think. Almost everyone in Cuba loves their country, even people who do not support communism say they will not want to live in another country even if they have the opportunity. If you ask if everyone is happy in Cuba, of course not, there are people who want to leave the country, even those who try to cross the US illegally, and there are even successful ones. The majority of those living in cities with high tourism, such as Havana, oppose the communist regime and openly say imperialism is good. Of course, the biggest reason for this is tourists. People from many countries of the world go here, and the biggest thing they have in common is that they are part of the lucky part of their country. In short, the rich people of different countries gather here. The Cuban people see these rich people who come here and they have no news of the poor people in those countries. If you look at those who live in cities where tourism is not dense, they are happy with their situation. Because they have a certain standard of living and they have no concerns about the future. They just want to enjoy life.

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If we examine the Cuban life, there is no problem with the basic needs of the people, that is, they are not in poverty. The state meets the basic needs of everyone free of charge. The real problem is how the need is decided and how the distribution is made. I mean, is this distribution fair? Or are some taking too much and others less? As you can imagine, there is not exactly a fair distribution. Therefore, the public is seriously disturbed.

The statue you see below is the only homeless person who has ever lived in Cuba since the revolution. After the revolution, the state gave home to all, and now the state is responsible for meeting the housing needs of the people. The person in the statue, Cuba’s only homeless person. He lived homeless because he wanted to be like this and after his death, this statue was made, which can be considered a symbol of home assistance in Cuba.

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Cuba Economy: Minimum Wage and Unemployment Rate

The most interesting question I heard after returning from Cuba; Do people use money in Cuba? yes that was the question. Those who have heard of state aid have the idea that life in Cuba is free. Okay, the government gives you your home, it meets your basic needs, but you have to use money for more. Nevertheless, money is rarely used, so it would not be wrong to call it a narrow economy for the Cuban economy. Because education and health in Cuba is free; concerts, theaters and similar events are also free. Electricity and water are free up to a certain amount, for a very low fee.

In Cuba, the minimum wage is $ 30. of course this average figure, but in Cuba there is equality in the minimum wage; For example; the doctor’s salary is $ 40, so the money you earn, whether you’re a doctor or a worker, doesn’t change much. The minimum wage seems very low at first glance, but considering the Cuban living conditions, much can be done with this money. The supplies provided by the state are enough for people to survive. So you can think of salary as a kind of pocket money. Let’s come to the issue of equality in the minimum wage. The most common point of people is this equality issue; How can a worker and a doctor receive equal pay? I was having trouble understanding this before I went to Cuba. But in Cuba, life begins very differently and continues differently. Cuba has a program called the first thousand days. This program covers the period from the beginning of pregnancy until the child finishes 2 years of age. Within the scope of the program, the family is made ready for birth, and the health checks of the mother and child are done free of charge. Not only that; From vaccination to psychological support, all services are provided free of charge. Mother and father are trained in raising children. You might think what the issue is about minimum wage. You’re right, but here we can see that equality began before people were born. So it has a lot to do with the minimum wage. This equality always continues; people grow in the same food aid, same education and in different professions under exactly the same conditions. Throughout education, people are directed to their areas of interest and those who receive education in that direction do the appropriate jobs. In this case, it doesn’t matter whether you are a doctor or an unskilled worker. The state cares and educates everyone, and then employs them. Just as he’s been equal since his birth, he keeps his pay equal. Like I said, before I saw Cuba, I thought doctors deserved more salaries. However, when i saw the life in cuba, I realized that it is actually the difficulty of reaching this level that makes this profession valuable. In Cuba there is no difficulty. Therefore, doctors do not need to get a higher salary. Doctor is a much more difficult profession, not everyone can do; so you can say that the salary should be high. However, it must be admitted that a doctor cannot do the work of the plumber. In short, a minimum wage is paid in return for labor. The labor given is also no more than 6 hours a day, regardless of profession. Businesses are already state owned and the money earned is distributed equally to all people, not as salaries to employees. For example, the worker in the cigar factory receives little salary. The money earned by the factory goes to the state vault. However, hospitals are completely free, so the hospital is not expected to profit. The state covers the doctor’s salary and other hospital expenses. So where do you think this money comes from? Of course, from the cigar factory and similar businesses. In other words, even though the salary of the worker working in the cigar factory is low, thanks to the income generated by the factory, the worker does not give money to the hospital or to the drugs. The Cuban economy can survive because the state provides many services free of charge and keeps the minimum wage low. When i say that, it sounds good, but do you think that the money earned by the cigar factory is used for the benefit of the public? Unfortunately, there is a big problem here and corruption cannot be prevented. Corruption is said to have increased after Fidel Castro’s death.

Küba Mango Mağazası
Cuba Mango

If you ask if there is unemployment, there is no such thing as unemployment in Cuba. Since the education is given according to the abilities of the people, everyone has the profession and therefore does not become unemployed. When this is the case, the concept of unemployment in Cuba disappears.

When we look at the sources of income, Cuba’s biggest source of income is tourism. By attracting foreign investors to the country, tourism revenues have increased significantly. However, this was the beginning of a major change in the country. When tourism was added to business opportunities in Cuba, a serious income injustice emerged. For example; On the streets of Cuba, you see women dressed in color and posing with cigars in their hands, where you can take photos together. In places where the tourist is busy you will definitely see a few people doing this job. If you want to have a photo with these women, they ask you for 1 CUC, which is about 1 euro. If she takes a photo with one person a day, her monthly income will be the same as the minimum wage, even closer to the doctor’s salary. Of course, not one person per day, but dozens of people take photos. So maybe they can earn a doctor’s monthly salary with a day’s work. In this way, although there are different business opportunities in Cuba, everyone is trying to somehow turn to tourism. Some doctors even make taxis in the evening to earn much more than the money they earn from doctors.

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Cuba Government

An article in the Cuban constitution states that Cuba was founded as a democratic republic. However, there is only one party in the country and it is a communist party. You see, democracy is just a word. It also states in the constitution that Cuba is a socialist workers’ state. In short, Cuba is governed by the communist regime. However, as I mentioned above, post-tourism income equality is degraded; This is a situation that affects the Cuban regime. Of course, the Cuban government can go to tourism regulations to protect the regime, but for the Cuban economy, tourism is very important. Already Raul Castro’s statements show that there will be changes in the Cuban administration, but it is hard to predict how much it will change. I don’t think even the government has decided. Right now, money is flowing from tourism, they seem to do whatever it takes to keep it going. New hotels are being opened with the build-operate-transfer system, the majority of which are owned by Spanish companies, and the state earns serious income. However, the money is invested in tourism again. Of course, there are various kinds of corruption and some of the money goes to other places. These corruptions in the administration also affect life in Cuba and the people are really uncomfortable with this situation. They are beginning to question when their conditions will be better. This may cause even greater problems in the future.

Cuba Crime Rate: Is Cuba Safe?

Yes, Cuba is safe, especially for a tourist. The crime rate in Cuba is really low, people do not have very big requests. This is the biggest factor in the low crime rate. It is also not possible to do anything hidden in Cuba. If you are doing something illegal and you are not caught, the state is aware that you are doing it, but it does allow it. People know that. The state certainly does not tolerate big crimes, especially since tourists are a direct source of income and they are much more sensitive about the crimes committed against tourists. In short, is Cuba safe? There is no situation that will require you to ask and worry about it.

Fidel Castro; Cuban Revolution

It will be surprising, but the Cuban revolution is not a communist revolution. It is said that even Fidel Castro is not a communist. The revolutionary movement began only against exploitation, and after succeeding and taking over, Fidel Castro even went to the United States to negotiate; maybe it was part of this plan, maybe they didn’t decide exactly how to run the country. However, in the following period socialist practices began and they became enemies with the US.

After all these facts, we can say that; Life in Cuba is not as fantastic as many people think, but they do not have a life of poverty and hardship. Compared to other countries, we can say that the living conditions in Cuba are very good.

What do you think?

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