Latest Cuba Opinion Survey: Repression High, Reforms Weak

Thursday, May 23, 2013
The International Republican Institute (IRI) has just released its yearly public opinion survey conducted within Cuba between January 20 – February 20, 2013.

Among the key findings:

- Repression of free speech and civil liberties remains high. A majority of respondents (69 percent) answered that in the last two years it has not gotten easier to speak one’s mind in public without retribution.

- Cuts in government jobs and the lack of private sector opportunities are driving Cubans into the informal/black market economy to survive. Despite government claims that the private sector is expanding, responses suggest that employment in this sector increased by only three percent from last year. In contrast, respondents who claimed to work in the informal sector expanded by nine percent.

- Hesitancy to respond to sensitive, politically-oriented questions persists; 15 percent of respondents refused to answer whether they think Cubans should vote to choose their president, and 20 percent did not answer when asked if, under certain circumstances, the government represses its own people.

- Cubans seem optimistic about economic reforms implemented over the last six years and believe them to be important. However, 64 percent say they are not benefiting from these reforms directly. Those who say they benefit are mostly concentrated in Havana and the western provinces of the island.

- Despite reports of increased access to the Internet on the island and the connection of the island’s first fiber optic cable, only four percent of respondents reported having access to both Internet and email.

See the full survey here.

A total of 688 Cuban adults were asked questions ranging from access to Internet and cell phone usage, their outlook on their economic future and the state of repression against Cubans by the Castro government. The survey was conducted in 14 Cuban provinces and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent, and a 95 percent level of confidence. This survey was the eighth of its kind conducted by IRI on the island since 2007.