Leticia Figueroa/AP
A raft carrying seven Cubans reaches international waters, Sunday, June 15, 2008. The
rafters were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Cubans Emigrating in Record Numbers, Despite Economic and Social Reforms

June 18, 2008 06:01 AM
by Isabel Cowles
Cubans have been emigrating to the United States and Mexico at record rates, indicating doubt about Raul Castro’s apparent social and economic reforms.

30-Second Summary

Cubans have been emigrating in record numbers; not since the “Raft Crisis” in 1994 have so many Cubans flocked to the United States and Mexico.

Since taking office, Raul Castro, the brother of former President Fidel Castro, has instituted economic and social reforms. For example, Cubans have been allowed cell phones, microwaves and other modern conveniences. Large-scale economic restrictions remain, however, making it impossible for most Cubans to afford the new products they are allowed to purchase, and causing many to argue that the reforms are merely for show.

“It’s just a big facade to impress the people,” said Yhosvany Carmona, a Cuban actor who fled recently. “Who are these people who can now afford to buy computers, cellphones and DVDs? They are the same people who could afford to buy them on the black market before.”

Headline Links: Cubans leave in droves

Background: Apparent improvements to Cuban quality of life

Reference: Maps, stats, policy and history of Cuban immigration


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