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Revolutionary CubaA History$
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Luis Martínez-Fernández

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049953

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049953.001.0001

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Socialism or Death!

Socialism or Death!

The Long Special Period, 1991–2000

(p.181) 6 Socialism or Death!
Revolutionary Cuba

Luis Martínez-Fernández

University Press of Florida

The abrupt termination of Soviet trade subsidies and other forms of aid beginning in 1989, the tightening of the U.S. trade embargo during the 1990s, and Cuba's temporary virtual withdrawal from international trade, pushed the economy into a freefall which Castro dubbed the Special Period. The population endured further food scarcities and experienced a deterioration in all types of social services. The crisis sparked yet another mass exodus whose participants came to be known as balseros. Also, internal opposition expanded with the emergence of new illegal organizations, political parties, and NGOs. The government responded with a heavy hand. It also embraced numerous reforms such as the legalization of the U.S. dollar, the reallowing of self-employment, and the seeking of foreign investments to revive the economy.

Keywords:   remittances, Special Period, self-employment, foreign investment, balseros, economic collapse, Oswaldo Paya, foreign investment

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