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    10 economic facts about Cuba

    10 economic facts about Cuba
    Cuba

    On the heels of the announcement of the restoration of U.S.-Cuban
    diplomatic relations on July 20, Cuba’s removal from the U.S. state
    sponsors of terrorism list, and the re-opening of embassies in the two
    countries, we mined the considerably large trove of recent Brookings
    content to find some of the most interesting facts about Cuba. Read more
    about Cuba here.

    1. Cuba receives almost 100,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela.

    The easing of diplomatic hostilities between the United States and Cuba
    may work to lessen Cuban dependence on the Venezuelan regime, Ted
    Piccone notes. Russian President Vladimir Putin also recently wrote off
    $32 billion, 90 percent of the debt Cuba owed dating back to the Soviet era.

    2. The aggregated gross national income per capita of Cuba is officially
    $5,539, but the take home salary for most Cubans is around $20 a month.

    While there is little publicly available data regarding individual
    incomes, Richard Feinberg concludes, using a variety of indicators, that
    40 percent of the Cuban labor force falls within a broadly defined
    middle class, though consumption remains depressed due to low government
    wages.

    3. Less than five percent of Cubans have access to the Internet.

    While demand is increasing for American cultural and telecommunications
    products, companies like Netflix and Google are working on long-term
    plans to find their way into the country’s economy. The first step in
    this process came in early February, according to Darrell West, when
    Netflix announced it would begin streaming in the island nation.

    4. The Cuban government authorizes only 201 different categories of
    activities for self-employment.

    This creates a problem in forging economic ties, Ted Piccone writes,
    since “U.S. importers can only engage in transactions with independent
    Cuban entrepreneurs” while Cuba fails to expand the list, excluding
    “huge swaths of Cuba’s human capital” from trade with the U.S.

    5. More than two-thirds of the 2 million Cubans and Cuban-Americans in
    the United States live in Florida; 18 percent of Miami residents
    identify as Cuban.

    Audrey Singer explains how these demographic distributions play a key
    role in normalizing relations with Cuba. Currently, a visa lottery
    system allows 20,000 Cubans to emigrate every year to the United States,
    while others try to make the trek by sea—the U.S. Coast Guard stopped
    500 such potential immigrants in December 2014 alone. Thousands more
    cross the border where they can claim asylum and get expedited green
    card privileges.

    6. New Cuban hotspots can process 1 megabit per second, far below the
    average U.S. speed.

    Darrell West examines the growth of Internet access in Cuba, noting that
    improved relations with the U.S. could relax restrictions on better IT
    equipment.

    7. The average age of the Cuban population will increase from 54.7 today
    to 67.7 in 2025.

    Juan Triana Cordoví and Ricardo Torres Pérez note that “most growth in
    developing countries in the last 50 years has been the exact opposite,
    spurred by a growing youth population and workforce. Together, these
    elements coupled with the current economic model make setting Cuba on a
    sustainable long-term growth path an immense challenge.”

    8. 90 percent of Cubans own their own homes.

    The high homeownership rate on the island is supported by President Raúl
    Castro’s economic reform agenda, which attempts to “preserve socialism
    while introducing new forms of market-based mechanisms,” writes Ted
    Piccone. In addition to the ability to buy and sell property, Cuban
    citizens can now open small businesses, have cell phones, and form
    cooperatives both on and off of farms.

    9. Americans are able to bring back $400 worth of goods from
    Cuba—including $100 in cigars and rum.

    Richard Feinberg reacts to the increasingly open ties between the United
    States and Cuba and discusses the implications for citizens in both
    counties.

    10. 68 percent of Cuban-Americans favor normalized relations between
    Cuba and the U.S.

    Katharine Moon also points out that 90 percent of younger
    Cuban-Americans favor normalization. The divergence between older
    hardliners and a conciliatory new generation is key in approaching other
    diplomatic challenges, such as re-evaluating relations with North Korea,
    she says.

    Nicholas Buchta contributed to this post.

    Fred Dews
    Managing Editor, New Digital Products

    Source: 10 economic facts about Cuba | Brookings Institution –
    http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/brookings-now/posts/2015/07/ten-economic-facts-about-cuba