HT Opinion Poll: Readers Comment on the Wave of Antisocial Behavior in Cuba

THE NEW CUBAN. Ilustration by Yasser Castellanos
THE NEW CUBAN. Illustration by Yasser Castellanos

HAVANA TIMES — Over the last few years, analyses, complaints, reports and opinions about the boom in antisocial behavior in Cuba are becoming more and more common. Some people call it Social Indiscipline, others associate it with a loss of values… the truth is that it’s a growing phenomenon, closely linked to others such as corruption, marginalization and violence.

Official mass media and other alternative media outlets comment on this issue frequently but from what we know, a survey has never been carried out to find out how people feel about it. Havana Times carried out a survey with Cuban citizens by email. Here, we present the results.

The main cause of the problem

Over half of those who took part (58%) considered the main cause of this wave of antisocial behavior to be “the de-structuring of society, politics, family and social anthropology which has taken place due to the revolutionary process, and which has gotten worse with the country’s new generations.”

None of those interviewed checked the box: “it’s a product of the concessions made to Capitalism after the socialist bloc fell,” which is typical of the Cuban government’s discourse. Only 8% believed that it was the result of the global crisis. 11% established that family and school education were the most responsible for the problem, while 24% (a significant minority) blamed the Cuban people’s miserable salaries for giving birth to antisocial behavior and values.

Scale of the problem

There were four options on the survey in order of increasing severity: light, moderate, alarming and serious. 5% believe that this problem is moderate; the majority (55%) believes that it’s alarming, and 22% classify it as serious. That is to say, a large percentage of people (77%) consider it to be between alarming or serious.

Is there anything positive to get out of this?

42% of those surveyed think there isn’t. However, 39% believe that the crisis is also, in some way or another, an opportunity to find new ways to organize ourselves as a society. 18% believe that the boom in irresponsible individualism is a kind of reaction and cure for the forced collectivism that the Communist era has brought about.

Should we intervene? Who?

13% said there’s nothing that can be done and intervening might only make matters worse. 21% believe that the State should do something, with projects such as that of values training at schools and/or establishing social laws that must be strictly adhered to. However, the majority (66%) believe that the State can’t fix a problem for which it’s responsible to some extent, believing that the legitimate agents of change are the community and/or family.

How do we fix it?

Only 5% believe that it can be resolved by getting rid of the remains of colonialism and capitalism. 32% believe that development would be the remedy, with all of the positive socio-cultural changes that this will bring, while the majority (63%) think that in establishing a Constitutional State and allowing people to really participate in making public decisions, the wave of antisocial behavior in Cuba will come to a halt.

Conclusions

Although the number of those surveyed is still low (38 people answered), we can perceive a general perception of the problem:  77% classify it as between alarming and serious. The government’s discourse insists upon the fact that these evils come from abroad, from capitalism and its miseries, however, there were very few who checked the answers that were coherent with this line of thought (0% in the first question and 5% in the last). Generally speaking, we can conclude that the State – and the vision that they spread about this issue – is considered more responsible for this problem than the solution to it.

On the other hand, it was interesting to establish the fact that more people see this as a politically motivated problem rather than an economic one (24 vs. 12); linked to the absence of a Constitutional State and the resulting immaturity of civil society.

For the next editions of our opinion surveys, we are asking for suggestions, recommendations and issues; they’ll be greatly welcomed.


7 thoughts on “HT Opinion Poll: Readers Comment on the Wave of Antisocial Behavior in Cuba

  • September 10, 2016 at 12:43 pm
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    Firstly this anti social behaviour, well is it mainly a certain age group that are causing this behaviour or is it a mixed age group? .Secondly I wold guess that the real problem lies much deeper, possibly the social order in Cuba? People especially the younger to middle aged generation are possibly starting to rebel against what they perceive as government inactivity in areas such as social housing, trade, and in not being allowed to cast a vote to see who governs the country! People in Cuba and abroad and not all who are concerned are Cubans, and no before they spout out the rhetoric about corrupt Uncle Sam, it is so easy to deflect blame, yes let us blame that big bad trade embargo and all Americans! The truth of the matter is that the hero of the moment from 1959 is still around, and no he is not deluded because he is fully aware of what his brother is doing (Fidel retired, you have got to be having a laugh!) the only people who are having a laugh is Fidel and his cohorts, they might spout all the rhetoric that some of the very old want to hear, you know how I no he might even say ‘we’ sent the evil Baptista and the cursed Yankee running like scared cats etc etc. Do not be too put off by this anti social behaviour because believe me bigger events are sure to follow, and then you will witness the true face of Mr I saved my country Fidel Castro.

  • September 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm
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    Oh yea! Riiiiiiiiiiight! That’s it! It’s the failure to willingly conform with the dictates of the Castro communist regime that’s “antisocial behaviour” in Cuba. Perhaps that young cubano who pulled his junk out of his pants on a guagua in Havana recently and laid his polla on her thigh was merely only “displaying freedom of individual thought” as well. You’re a joke… but thanks for the chuckle.

  • September 2, 2016 at 8:02 am
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    That’s a curious take on the survey. From what I understood, the anti-social behaviour would be crimes with a negative social effect, such as vandalism, pilfering, violence, prostitution, drugs & etc.

    The significant message from the survey is that the majority of the people blame the State, they don’t think the State can fix the problem, and the only effective solution would be a constitutional change.

  • September 1, 2016 at 4:44 pm
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    Good observation, IC.

    In my personal experience two things come to mind…. in the big picture corruption, which is presently happening at a level never experienced before… and in the small picture the loss of day-to-day respect/politeness from some segments of the population, especially the burgeoning segment of well-off youth.

    I agree it would be interesting to have the originator(s) of the survey to be a bit more specific.

  • September 1, 2016 at 12:14 pm
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    Maybe “antisocial behaviour” in Cuba is a failure to willingly conform with the dictates of the Castro communist regime and to display freedom of individual thought.

  • September 1, 2016 at 11:30 am
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    This is a very interesting survey! The results are quite remarkable for the consistent opinions held by significant majorities of Cubans surveyed.

    58% of Cubans believe the antisocial behaviour is a consequence of the destruction of civil society by the socialist system imposed on the Cuban people by the State. 66% believe the State cannot solve the problem. This is the core of the critique against Marxism: the totalitarian state is unjust & inhuman.

    63% believe that a new constitution state, one which respects human rights and involves the people in governing, will solve the problem.

    Interestingly, only 32% believe economic development alone will solve the problem. This opinion is contrary to the goals of the Castro regime, which sees economic growth alone, and no improvement in the rights of the Cuban people or and changes in the constitutional order, as the path forward for Cuba.

    I have argued here at HT that for Cuba to overcome her many problems, the country must transition to a liberal democracy which respects human rights and freedoms, in other words, a constitutional state or republic. Castro apologists have argued with me saying that democracy is no magic pill, that giving Cuban people the right to vote in multiparty elections will solve nothing, that socialism just needs a little fine tuning to make it work, or that all of Cuba’s problems are caused by the US embargo. I am delighted to see that my opinions on the subject are in line with the majority of Cubans.

    I look forward to the next instalment of these surveys. Well done!!!

  • September 1, 2016 at 10:32 am
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    What a strange article. The author never once mentions what the “antisocial behavior is. What is considered an antisocial behavior in Cuba? According to the article it’s something other than corruption, marginalization (whatever that is) and violence.

    If this has to do with what we Cubans refer to as “resolviendo”, well then, that’s been going on for decades and is part and parcel to surviving in Cuba.

    The whole thing sounds like it was written by someone well versed in Cuban, revolutionary, double-talk.

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