Cuba: A Caribbean SIDS Reinventing Itself
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. With an area of almost 110,000 km2 and a population of 11.3 million, the socialist state shares many of the development constraints that distresses its Caribbean neighbors. Among them, the environmental and economic vulnerabilities stand out as key development obstacles. As with the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean region, Cuba has suffered the effects of climate change and exogenous economic shocks. The negative effects of the economic recession of 2008 were further aggravated by the recent hit of various category 4/5 hurricanes. In spite of the adversity, the island managed to register a discrete economic growth in the past decade. However, it has proven to be insufficient to meet the social and economic demands of the population.
The most recent strategy to overcome the economic downturns and relaunch the economy was presented in 2011. The program, considered by many a deep reform, attempts to diversify the economy, attract foreign investment, achieve international competitiveness and boost productivity without negatively changing the social fabrics of a socialist society. This chapter examines Cuba’s responses to its environmental and economic challenges as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), together with the outcomes of the transformative program started seven years ago. It is within this context of key economic transformations, in a political environment signed by the renovation of the government that Cuba moves forward with expectations higher than ever.
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