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Cuba: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Cuba’s measures to counter corruption have increased under President Raùl Castro. Institutional and legal frameworks that have anti-corruption mandates implement some activities effectively. Corruption indicators show that Cuba now performs slightly better than the average Latin American country. However, Cuba’s political atmosphere – which lacks media freedom, civil society space, and free speech – makes it difficult to expose corruption. There are many unanswered questions. For instance, it is uncertain whether the anti-corruption drive targets those at the top of political and military institutions. In general, therefore, the closed nature of Cuban institutions and lack of political, economic, and social rights remain corruption risks.

3 November 2019
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Cuba: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Main points

  • Despite an anti-corruption drive and the fact that Cuba performs better than the average country in Latin America and the Caribbean, evidence suggests that corruption is still a major issue.
  • Though it is difficult to gain insights into the exact patterns of corruption in Cuba, available evidence suggests that bribery and theft are common issues.
  • Since the death of Fidel Castro, the army has increased its hold on Cuban society and has emerged as a central actor in both politics and the economy. These developments are associated with some serious corruption risks.
  • Severe repression of independent civil society organisations and media outlets creates a culture where it is difficult to expose corruption and hold the government of Cuba accountable.
  • In general, Cuba’s ability to expose and get to grips with corruption is hindered by limited political and civil liberties and one of the world’s most restrictive media environments.

Cite this publication

Bak, M.; (2019) Cuba: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2019:22)

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Mathias Bak


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This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)