Communist Cuba has a 64-year streak of having one of the most oppressive and corrupt dictatorships in the world. So it’s no surprise it also ranks as one of the least free nations in the world as well.
Cuba’s one-party communist state outlaws political pluralism, bans independent media, suppresses dissent, and severely restricts basic civil liberties. The government continues to dominate the economy despite recent reforms that permit some private-sector activity. The regime’s undemocratic character has not changed despite a generational transition in political leadership between 2018 and 2021 that included the introduction of a new constitution.
Key Developments 2022
- Government repression against activists, political opponents, and those who took part in the 2021 social protests continued throughout the year.
- The country’s economic crisis deepened with growing inflation during the year, resulting in food shortages and frequent power cuts that triggered popular protests in the summer and fall. Many protests were characterized by violent state repression against demonstrators; a number of protesters were detained, and some have been criminally charged for participating in the demonstrations.
- A national referendum on a new family code passed in September with 67 percent of the vote, recognizing same-sex marriage and the right of same-sex couples to adopt or be beneficiaries of assisted reproduction techniques.
- A new penal code was approved in May and entered into force in December. Among other things, it criminalizes the receipt of foreign financing to carry out activism and increases the minimum penalties for charges typically used to suppress dissent, such as “public disorder.”
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