Exploring Cuba’s Economic Crisis

The author or editor of several books related to Cuba, including The Cuban Economy in a New Era, Jorge I. Dominguez is a former vice provost of Harvard University. He is also a former vice president of the Weatherhead Foundation and a former president of the Institute of Cuban Studies. Jorge I. Dominguez continues to study Cuba’s economy in the midst of the country’s current economic crisis.

Though some analysts predict that Cuba’s economy will grow by 4 percent in 2022, this growth comes off the back of several years of decline and stagnation. This decline peaked in 2020 when Cuba experienced a 10.2 percent economic downswing.

Several factors currently influence the difficult economic times in Cuba. Flawed economic policy decisions and excessive reliance on state enterprises marked by gross inefficiency lead the list. Former president Donald Trump’s re-implementation of sanctions, which include flight restrictions and the banning of cruises, reduced Cuba’s tourism trade. The economic crisis in Venezuela, which is a key Cuban ally, has also contributed. Furthermore, a decline of 65 percent in Cuban exports from 1989 to 2019 means the country is no longer able to fund its imports with the money earned from exports. These factors combine to create a deepening economic crisis that a minor 2022 recovery will likely do little to assuage.

Cuba’s Deepening Connection to Russia in the 21st Century

A graduate of both Harvard University and Yale College, Jorge I. Dominguez is a writer and publisher. His books primarily focus on the economic and social situation in Cuba, though he has edited books relating to Mexico and wider Latin America. Jorge I. Dominguez is interested in how Cuba’s relationship with the United States has evolved over the decades.

Interestingly, we may see another change in the relationship between the United States and Cuba in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Throughout 2022, Russia’s ties to Cuba have deepened. In January, Russian delegate Sergei Ryabkov refused to rule out the possibility that Russia may set up a military presence in Cuba.

Furthermore, both nations have committed to exploring options in other areas. According to Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, the island is working with Russia on joint projects related to industry, transport, banking, and energy. Cuba has also refused to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it has blamed the crisis on alleged U.S. and NATO aggression against Russia.

The renewed development of these ties between Russia and Cuba brings to mind the relationship the Soviet Union had with the island in the 1960s. Russia has even implied that the United States’ continued opposition to Russia’s advance into Ukraine could evoke the dimensions of conflict not seen since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.