Working in Cuba

After fifty years of communism, Cubans are once again allowed to go into business for themselves...


This Module Contains:

  • General DVD with 2.15 hours of digital footage of life in Cuba.

  • Topic-specific DVD with 3.41 hours of digital footage of Cuban working life.

  • Transcripts of all interviews.

  • Comprehensive background information and summary materials (sample) of the footage, including flowcharts (sample)

  • Cutting-edge curriculum: teaching unit supporting social science standards complete with class activities, grading rubrics, four Power Point presentations, lecture materials, graphic organizers, homework assignments, a video on how to use the footage, and student briefing materials


The Cuban Economy: A Work in Progress. Twenty years ago, everyone in Cuba worked for the State.  Then the Soviet Union fell, Cuban sugar and petrol subsidies ended, and the Cuban government could no longer afford to employ its entire adult population. The result?  Castro announced that the State would lay off half a million state employees and dump them into Cuba’s nascent private sector.  Now Cubans can choose whether to work for the state, on the black market, or in a legal private job.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?  What effect will Cuba’s eventual reconciliation with the United States have on its workforce?




Teaching Unit Overview:  Cuba is at a tipping point.  After fifty years of communism, the Cuban government has initiated a dramatic shift towards a more free-market economy.  History is happening before your eyes!  At the forefront of this new “revolution” is the Cuban job market. Cubans are once again allowed to work for themselves – subject to complicated licensing rules and plenty of taxes and fees – and home-grown businesses are popping up everywhere.  But the government has also promised that it will not sacrifice any of the goals of the revolution – including free healthcare, education, retirement, and other social services for all of its citizens.  Is it possible to retain the advantages of a socialist system and still build an incentive-based free market economy?


Footage Highlights:

  • Spear Fishermen

  • Tobacco Farmers

  • Shoe Repairman

  • Balsa Fishermen

  • Roving Herb Sellers

  • Pizza Makers

  • Sugarcane Juice Makers

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