Ángela Ferriol notes that by the 1980s Cuba was so successful in fighting poverty that it was no longer a topic for study. But the 1990–93 economic disaster left many Cubans, in Ferriol’s words, with “insufficient monetary income” to meet all their basic needs. Unlike the poor in most countries, however, a number of their basic needs were met in full (education, health care, and social security) or in part (food and housing) despite their inadequate incomes. To simultaneously recognize the seriousness of this group’s problems and how they differ from the poor in the rest of the world many Cuban scholars refer to them as an “at-risk population.” From 1994, when the economy’s free fall stopped, government resources have been directed to improving this group’s well-being. These efforts were qualitatively increased in the 2000s. But as Ferriol discusses, Cuba must undertake these efforts while simultaneously redesigning the basic model for building socialism to accommodate the post-1990 economic environment. This means that the structures and practices for socioeconomic improvement must be made consistent with the structures and policies of the whole economy, even though these structures and policies, in fact, have not yet been fully worked out.
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