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IRI Cuba Survey: Repression of Free Speech, Civil Liberties High

May 23, 2013

Washington, DC – IRI today released its most recent survey and analysis of Cuban public opinion (Spanish version).  The survey, fielded on the island January 20 – February 20, 2013, found that repression on the island is still high, with 69 percent saying they could not speak their minds in public without retribution.  Fifty-three percent said that the Cuban government was repressive with 20 percent refusing to answer the question.

Access to information continues to be denied to the Cuban people.  Despite reports of increased access to the Internet and the connection of the island’s first fiber optic cable, only four percent of respondents reported having access to both Internet and email.

While respondents showed more optimism regarding their economic outlook, 64 percent of Cubans cannot cite any reforms that they say have benefited them in their personal lives.  Further, 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 2012 while the black market economy has expanded by nine percent. 

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.