Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, tremendous social, political and economic change has taken place in Cuba. Cuba began a gradual recovery from the crisis in 1994 that lasted the rest of the decade. This recovery accompanied a fitful process of economic reform, and ups and downs in political openness. In the past few years, the Cuban economy has grown, as Cuba has strengthened its relationship with Venezuela, and attracted other investment partners.
Today, religious institutions operate with relative freedom in Cuba, and some spaces for political discussion exist, despite the 2003 “crackdown” by the Cuban government which put 75 dissidents in jail. The island is currently undergoing the beginning of a period of change as Fidel Castro has transferred interim leadership responsibilities to his brother Raul. Many on the island believe that this shift will lead to gradual changes as Raul and others in leadership positions look to the younger generation for ideas and approval.
Due to U.S. restrictions on travel, it has become increasingly difficult for U.S. citizens to learn about and understand the Cuban reality of today. The current period of change is of critical importance to the history and future of Cuba. WOLA will work to ensure that links to the island are not completely destroyed by U.S. policies and will share information and support exchange between the two countries as much as possible.