Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Odds and ends

  • Daniel Calingaert of Freedom House calls for an end to Cuba travel restrictions in the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill.

  • The International Republican Institute published a survey (pdf) of public opinion in Cuba last week based on in-person interviews conducted in Cuba with a statistical sample that matches the demographics of Cuba’s population. The interviews were done in July and August. One finding: since the last survey less than a year ago, the use of cell phones, e-mail, and the Internet has increased by 10 percent, 23 percent, and four percent, respectively.

  • Another reason to read the new blog El Yuma – it features translations of items that appeared only in Spanish, see here and here.

  • Shreveport Times: General Russel Honore of Hurricane Katrina and “Don’t be stuck on stupid” fame says that the United States has something to learn from Cuba’s hurricane preparedness – even though Cuba is “poor,” “challenged economically,” “socialist,” and “Communist-controlled.”

  • In Military Review, a short article (pdf) on the economic role of the Cuban Armed Forces by Terry Maris of Ohio Northern University.

  • Cuba’s foreign ministry announces a $15 million donation from Kuwait to repair water infrastructure in Holguin.


leftside said...

On the IRI poll, it is worth pointing out a few things.

We don't know what firm carried out the polling. That is secret. We don't even know from what country they were.

The only statistical "representation" used was gender and age (not race or anything else).

Beyond gender and age, the IRI admits it selected interviewees based solely on them being present somewhere - likely city centers - the pollster was hanging out.

The exact poll questions are not printed because they likely varied with every interview, as this was a "conversationalist" poll - a method which does not meet any basic polling criteria.

The interviewee did not know he or she was being polled. This violates a cardinal rule of polling, as established by the The Code of Professional Ethics and Practices of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).

Of AAPOR's 8 standards of disclosure, the "poll" meets one fully and perhaps part of another.

About 75% of the Cuban workforce is employed by the State, yet only 33% of the interviewees in this "poll" worked for the Government. A startling 30% reported being unemployed and 19% worked in the informal econmy. Are 50% of Cubans over 18 really outside of the formal economy?? Of course not. This confirms my suspcions that they chose a high percentage of jineteros to interview (ie. people hanging around a city center during the muddle of the day with nothing better to do than be interviewed). Unemployed people tend to be a little more disatasfied than those with jobs, no?

Questions like "do you think the current Government will be able to solve Cuba's biggest problem in the next few years" are simply inexusable in any kind of serious poll. What country in the world could SOLVE its biggest problem "in a FEW years?" Questions like this clearly show the political purposes of the poll - trying to manufacture a sense of deep disatisfaction and disseminate that around the world.

The "poll" took place in July and August, yet there is a question about reductions in the ration book, which only became effective November 1st (and only in the capital??). Can someone enlighten me as to what reductions were effective in July and August?? Or is this whole thing a crock of lies??

The moneyball question about whether one would change from the current systemt to one that is "democratic," with "freedom of speech and expression" is so leading it hurts. I can only imagine this going down. Basically, "do you want more freedoms and democracy"? How many would say no way?! Nonetheless, how to explain that 32% were opposed to such changes last yeart to only 6% this year? Are we to believe this much change in opinion is truly representative, and not a result of changes in polling methodology?

Quite interestingly, the number 1 specific policy reform people supposedly want is the ability to travel without an exit visa (almost 3x more than want to eliminate the dual currency and 4x those who want to open private businesses). I can't believe this is anywhere near being more important than everything else (considering how few people actually have the money to travel). But if so, this is a fairly simple thing for the Government to change right away (they have indicated they are moving in that direction). But to me, it shows the lack of urgency of other seemingly more important reforms (to us in the North at least)...

Anonymous said...

On Planet Leftside, professional public opinion polling is possible in Cuba.

Anonymous said...

On Planet Leftside, any poll of Cubans which shows less than 99.9% adulation for El Supremo must be a fraud.

Lefty, for your sake I hope you do not try to visit your old "frenns" in Cuba after El Cambio. You will be in for a surprise.

Anonymous said...


You said:

"Are 50% of Cubans over 18 really outside of the formal economy?? Of course not."

I would think about that one, I personally find it very possible that 50% of Cubans are outside of the formal economy.

Anonymous said...

Leftside, you probably are a 60 something American person who has good feelings towards Cuba and Cubans, but you don’t live in Cuba, and you are what folks in Cuba know as a “comunista de butaca”.

I bet that you will having a traditional turkey meal tomorrow, do you know what the average Cuban will eat tomorrow at the end of the month?

You just don't understand that we need new paradigms.

A friend of Brownie.