- Economic and social conditions have gotten worse for Cubans over the past year, according to a new survey by Observatorio Cubanos de Derechos Humanos.
The survey of 1,249 Cubans said:
- 42% of respondents said they “experience difficulties even to buy the most essential goods for survival.”
- 35% say they “have enough income to survive, but not enough to buy supplementary products.”
- 64% of households had incomes of less than $100 per month.
- 11% say their home is “in danger of collapse.”
- 9% do not have a supply of drinking water.
- 47% have had at least some power outages.
- 45% eat two or fewer meals per day.
More than half of those surveyed – 62% – said they feared that their household income would drop in the future. One third said they had received money from relatives living abroad in the last three months. Nearly half the respondents were government employees.
John Barsa, the acting administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, spoke about the survey on Oct. 28 at a webinar called “Cuba is not what you are told.”
He said, “I am always enthusiastic about this report, because I recognize how important it is to inform the world about the dire straits the Cuban people continue to endure under the regime.
“I want to underscore how much the Trump Administration, USAID, and the American people care about the situation in Cuba. We see how bad things are, and — as today’s report details — we know that the situation continues to deteriorate. Responsible leaders would see these challenges and take care of the people who are suffering in this way.
“And the truth is, the regime relies on a struggling population to maintain its grip on power. All socialist, authoritarian regimes act in the same way. The Soviet Union did it, Mao Zedong did it, Chavez did it, and Maduro does it. They survive on a weak population. The best way to weaken people is to keep them needy, and to keep them underserved with basic services. Keep their lights out, keep their internet off, and make them stand in line for food and medicine. It’s a blueprint.”
Barsa said the report “tells the real story — not the preposterous fairy tale that the Cuban regime wants to tell.
“It shows how a situation that has been very bad for years is even worse today, when the COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the ineptitude of the regime even more. The regime is woefully ill-positioned to address the latest health crisis with the seriousness and care needed.
“And instead of even trying to address the crisis, what do they do? They continue to place their focus on exploiting their doctors by sending them overseas, instead of using them to help the people in Havana, Santiago, Camaguey, Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, and Holguin.
“Let me emphasize that again: the Cuban regime engages in the alleged human trafficking of their doctors, and makes billions from their labor, rather than letting these healers treat the Cuban people.”
As of Oct. 30, the United States led the world in coronavirus cases with 9,316,297 and had reported 235,159 deaths. The U.S. had the world’s 10th highest mortality rate with 709 deaths for every million people, according to Worldometer.
Cuba had reported 6,801 COVID-19 cases and 128 deaths, a mortality rate that ranked 151 out of 218 countries and territories.
The NGO that conducted the survey, Asociación Observatorio Cubanos de Derechos Humanos, is based in Madrid, Spain. It has received $1,238,445 in U.S. government grants since 2011, according to USASpending.gov and Foreign Aid Explorer.
The money includes $988,445 in National Endowment for Democracy grants financed by the State Department, and $250,000 from USAID.
The chart below shows a breakdown by activity and year of the NED grants.