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Volume 55 / Social Sciences


JORGE PEREZ-LOPEZ, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, United States Department of Labor

THAT CUBA IS FACING its most serious economic challenge in over 35 years of revolutionary rule is not an issue open to debate. Uncharacteristically for matters related to the island, there is consensus among government officials, analysts on the island, and scholars abroad that the economic crisis of the 1990s is extremely severe.

The tailspin of the economy has affected the quantity and thematic orientation of the professional economic literature. Shortages of paper and other problems have virtually eliminated Cuban publications: the statistical yearbook has been discontinued as of 1989 and most professional journals also have suspended publication. This near blackout on economic information from the island has been broken by an important article by Cuban economist Carranza Valdés (item bi 95000777), interviews granted by high-level official Carlos Lage (items bi 95015382 and bi 95015385), and by publications abroad by some professional Cuban economists (item bi 94004867, bi 94004860, and bi 94007578).

The breadth and depth of the economic crisis, coupled with the demise of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, have given rise to a literature that looks beyond the immediate predicaments and focuses on Cuba's post-socialist economy. Several books (items bi 94001201, bi 95015381, bi 95000858, and bi 93003410) and articles (items bi 92010909 and bi 94007570) consider economic alternatives for Cuba - with most concluding that a market economy is the only viable one - or propose specific strategies to achieve a market economy on the island.

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