As history has shown time and again, socialism hits the most vulnerable the hardest. Cuba’s growing elderly population will take the brunt of the dictatorship’s latest attempt to save itself.
How will the Cuban State protect the elderly in the Tarea Ordenamiento?
Senior citizens constitute almost 21% of the population, and their status was already critical before the pandemic, dollarization and monetary unification.
In recent decades, the Cuban population has aged rapidly. The country is the “Latin American champion of population aging,” with 2,328,000 older adults, accounting for 20.8% of the total population.
What policies does the state have to deal with this demographic problem? What specific protection, from the legal point of view, exists for this 20.8% of the population, which in 2025 is expected to rise to 25%? These questions take on new importance with the implementation of the legislation known as the Tarea Ordenamiento, or Ordering Task.
Article 68 of the Cuban Constitution states that every working person has the right to Social Security, and that the state guarantees citizens adequate protection if they are prevented from working due to age, maternity, paternity, disability or illness.
Article 70 states that the state, “through social assistance, protects persons without resources or protection, not apt for work, and who lack family members in a position to help them; also to receive aid are “families that, due to insufficient income, require it, according to the law.”
According to Article 88, “The state, society and families, as far as each is concerned, have the obligation to protect, assist and facilitate the conditions to meet the needs and raise the quality of life of older persons. Similarly, they are respect their self-determination, guarantee the full exercise of their rights, and promote their social integration and participation.”
Despite the Social Security that workers are guaranteed under the Constitution, many elderly people who worked while they were old enough now sell bags on the Cuban streets, or line up early to buy and then resell newspapers. Some who are still physically able are gas delivery men: they queue up at the point of sale, buy the gas bottle, take it to the customer’s house, and hook it up. Many work illicitly, doing little deals “under the table.” Others are completely destitute.
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