Cubans optimistic about economic reforms, independent group finds
REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY — A survey just released by Freedom House finds fresh optimism among Cubans that economic reforms will truly bring change to their nation.
The study's authors said a majority of Cubans — 63% — reacted favorably to the reforms, which include limited private entrepreneurship and possible chances to buy cars and homes.
Taken in June, the survey represented a "stark contrast" to polling by Freedom House researchers just six months earlier, the authors said.
With greater optimism also come rising expectations, however, including a more frank demand for civil liberties, the report said. And that could put pressure on Cuban President Raul Castro.
The full study can be read here. While it's difficult to accurately gauge public opinion in a restricted society like Cuba (and the survey's authors noted that many of those questioned declined to give answers), the results were in line with observations by The Times and others in visits to the island in the last six months.
Freedom House is an independent group based in Washington.
— Tracy Wilkinson
Photo: Pedestrians on a street in Havana last month. Credit: Reuters