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.
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.