CUBA FACTS

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CUBA FACTS

Issue 48- August 2009

   


Cuba Facts
is an ongoing series of succinct fact sheets on various topics, including, but not limited to, political structure, health, economy, education, nutrition, labor, business, foreign investment, and demographics, published and updated on a regular basis by the Cuba Transition Project staff.

 

Table I. How Much Does Every Cuban Owe?
Cuban Foreign Debt per Capita in Comparative Context

Country
(ranked by foreign debt per capita)

Population
(in millions of inhabitants)


Estimated Foreign Debt
per capita, 2008
(in U.S. dollars)

Cuba
11.2
$4,714 [1]
Chile
16.6
$3,890
Jamaica
2.8
$3,707
Argentina
40.9
$3,317
Uruguay
3.5
$3,280
Trinidad and Tobago
1.3
$2,615
Costa Rica
4.3
$1,740
Mexico
111.2
$1,631
Dominican Republic
9.6
$1,219
Peru
29.5
$1,202
Brazil
198.7
$1,193
Ecuador
14.6
$1,164
Colombia
45.6
$914
Nicaragua
5.9
$545
Bolivia
9.8
$470
Haiti
9.0
$163
*Sources: For a detailed account of Cuba’s foreign debt see “Cuba: Hard Currency Debt, 2008,” Cuba Facts, Cuba Transition Project, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami, May 2009, http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FACTS_Web/Cuba%20Facts%20Issue%2047%20May.htm.
The population figures and external debt data for other countries are based on estimates by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as published in the online edition of The World Factbook 2008, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook (accessed June 2009).

 

    Table II. Top 10 Indebted Countries in the World, 2008


    Country

    (ranked by public debt as percentage of GDP in 2008)

    Population
    (in millions of inhabitants)
    Public Debt as Percentage of GDP
    Zimbabwe
    11.4
    241 %
    Japan
    127.1
    170 %
    Lebanon
    4.0
    164 %
    Jamaica
    2.8
    124 %
    Singapore
    4.7
    114 %
    Italy
    58.1
    104 %
    Cuba
    11.2
    96 % [2]
    Seychelles
    0.088
    93 %
    Greece
    10.7
    90 %
    Sudan
    41.1
    86 %
    Source: Cf. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook 2008, “Country Comparisons – Public Debt,”
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2186rank.html (accessed June 2009).


    Notes


    1. Cuba’s total known external debt continued to balloon in 2008 to an estimated US$52.799 billion by the end of the year. The total foreign debt includes approximately US$21 billion in Soviet-era claims by Russia and other former socialist bloc trading partners. While the Soviet-era claims are denominated in non-convertible transferable rubles, Russia alone has asked for the equivalent of approximately US$20 billion in compensation for Moscow’s unpaid pre-1990 loans and credits to the Castro regime.

    2. Cuban GDP for 2008 is estimated at US$55.18 billion (cf. The World Factbook 2008, “Cuba”). As there is neither an independent private sector nor meaningful distinction between the state and the economy within Cuba’s communist-run command economy, the government-owed foreign debt is used here as a proxy for the national (public) debt. With external obligations totaling nearly US$52.8 billion, the national debt reached approximately 96 percent of GDP in 2008, which made the Castro regime the seventh most indebted government in the world.

     

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* This report was prepared by Hans de Salas del Valle, Research Associate, Cuba Transition Project, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami.

 

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