Cuba continues to experience significant economic inequality and political repression. Despite profound social reforms, including universal access to free education (literacy 95.7 percent) and health benefits (life expectancy 76.4 years), living conditions today for most Cubans are quite severe. Daily life is marked by grinding poverty and frustration. The average monthly salary in Cuba is $17 dollars or 200 pesos (the value of the peso to the dollar ratio is approximately 25 to 1). Undernourishment is a chronic problem on the island. The collapse of the sugar industry and declining exports has further worsened this economic deterioration.
|Population:||11,061,886 (July 2013 est.)|
|Size:||42,803 sq. mi.; slightly smaller than Pennsylvania|
Since its creation in 1991, Caritas Cubana and its diocesan members have become the largest, independent nongovernmental organization on the island, with more than 40 staff and a network of some 12,000 volunteers. While not enjoying official legal recognition, Caritas continues to be accepted by the Cuban government. There are Caritas programs in all 11 dioceses as well as at the national level in Havana. Catholic Relief Services has been one of Caritas Cuba's main supporters since 1993, and significant emphasis has been placed on developing Caritas Cuba grant management capacity.
ProgramsCivil Society and Governance