Abstract

In the early 1990s Cuba initiated a new phase of social transformation, driven forward by an economic reform. Some aspects of that reform resembled orthodox structural adjustment, while others differed from it. In agriculture the reform reshaped state farms into multiple cooperatives, subdivided cooperative production, liberalized produce markets, and ceded land to individual parceleros. Through interviews with policy makers and cooperative leaders, and a survey of small farmers in western and eastern Cuba, I examined the reform's impact on small farmers' production. I found that two important patterns characterized the 1990s: first, "repeasantization" occurred; and second, income disparities between these two regions were maintained, if not expanded. Yet, even in poorer regions, small farmers are modestly better off than the average salary earner, while in other regions they are substantially better off. In sum, Cuba's economic crisis forced the reshaping of agricultural policy in ways that fortified the position of small farmers.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4278
Print ISSN
0023-8791
Pages
pp. 202-218
Launched on MUSE
2003-04-03
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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