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Politically and economically induced migration

Since the revolution, about 600,000 of the 11,000,000 Cuban people have migrated to the U.S. for a variety of reasons. In the most economically impacted period of post-revolutionary Cuba (the Special Period during the 1990s), some undertook hazardous journeys on make-shift rafts in order to leave Cuba. Under a special mid-1990 agreement between the US and Cuba, twenty thousand Cuban citizens are permitted to emigrate from Cuba and enter the U.S.. Cuban citizens submit their names to a government lottery to determine who will go.

Most of the people that left Cuba initially were families of Army officers, government officials, or land owners. In recent years, people have migrated to the U.S. for the same reason that other people of Latin America have--for more economic opportunity. The U.S. embargo against Cuba has harmed the Cuban economy severely. Still, more immigrants stream into the U.S from other Latin American countries which have normal relations with the U.S..

The Cuban economy today

elfiscon.gif (16907 bytes)At first, the embargo had little effect on Cuba because the Soviet Union traded with Cuba. In 1989, when the Soviet Union dissolved, the trade group greatly weakened the economy in Cuba.

Currently, the economy is in a poor state, mainly because of the trade embargo. The US has also intervened with other countries which trade with Cuba. Consequently, Cuba has found it difficult to get its medical and other supplies that are desperately needed.

Cuba is hoping to bring in more foreign investors and export manufacturing into the country to increase its economic status. Mexico, Canada, Italy, and Spain are Cuba's largest trading partners today.

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