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Cuba’s triple troubles: Pandemic, blockade, and economic crisis

Buffeted for six decades by the U.S. economic blockade and recently having had to cope with restrictions on daily life and work due to COVID- 19, Cuba’s already shaky economy is deteriorating. Government leaders recently outlined remedial steps leading to what they call a “new normal.”

The U.N.’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) reported in October that the region “is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a century” and that Cuba’s GDP this year will be down at least 8%. Tourist income, remittances, foreign trade, and tax collections have fallen. Oil and gasoline shortages, the result of U.S. sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela, have stressed the economy.

Public spending on health care, unemployment compensation, and pensions are up; 150,000 state workers and 250,000 private-sector workers have been idled. Effects of the U.S economic blockade compound matters, with restrictions affecting the tourist industry, foreign imports, and access to foreign currency and loans.

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