Change Comes to Cuba: Citizens’ Views on Reform after the Sixth Party Congress

Nov. 14, 2011, 10:29 p.m.

Freedom House released a report on changes in Cuba since the April 2011 Party Congress. The report was drawn from interviews of conducted in Cuba in June 2011. The report finds that most Cubans are increasingly optimistic about their economic future due to reforms in business law. Interviewees also reported a desire greater freedom of expression and travel. Finally, the report finds that 92% of interviewees get news from government media and that this affects their knowledge of major world events.

These interviews  aim to assess the  impact of  the Party Congress’ decisions on ordinary Cubans and  to delve in depth into Cubans’ views on key issues, such as the economic and cultural transformation brought on by the liberalization of private business.  Freedom House researchers were trained  on  conducting interviews in  a challenging environment, where they are not allowed to publicly interview people andwhere some respondents feel  uneasy answering questions  about  government decisions and  about the country’s future.  Nonetheless, many Cubans were able to express freely  their  opinions on  the changes announced by the Party Congress.  As ayoung man from Santa Clara said, “I want to scream in the streets what I think about the country and its politics.”

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