The New Cuban Emigration

By:  Daniel Nardini


                        Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary As the Cuban government makes changes towards the social and economic system of the country, it has also been lifting more of the restrictions that prevented Cubans from leaving the country. The Cuban government is hoping that by allowing more capitalism and free enterprise, more Cubans will not only be able to travel back and forth, but want to work hard to make the Cuban economy grow and improve. This effort so far is only partially true. A growing number of Cubans are indeed traveling outside the country and going elsewhere to make investments and help the Cuban economy.


                        However, many young Cubans have been leaving Cuba and not returning. Last year, an estimated 50,000 Cubans applied to leave the country. Nine out of ten of these emigrants are going to the United States, where they already have family and friends. More than that, these young, skilled and well-educated Cubans have far, far better chances of finding work and making business ventures in the United States than they could ever do in Cuba. Even among those Cubans who have no family in America, they feel that they would still do better in the United States than in Cuba.


                             Lack of constitutional freedoms may be one reason why many young Cubans leave Cuba, but this is not the main reason why. Many are leaving for, quite simply, lack of opportunities. Even with the Cuban government trying to make changes to generate more jobs in the growing private sector, it is not enough to keep many young Cubans from leaving. Hence, Cuba is experiencing a brain and white-collar drain—people that the Cuban government needs in order to jump-start the private sector. Can the reforms the Cuban government has initiated begin to keep many young people from leaving, and make the private economy work and grow?


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