MIAMI, United States. – The exodus of thousands of Cubans who have left the island in the last year and a half is beginning to leave private businesses and state companies without a labor force.
AFP Agency gathered statements by self-employed business owners who say that the loss of workers has been notable in recent months.
“It was a blow when travel to Nicaragua was opened (…) We had 50 employees and lost 30 within one week,” stated Annie Zúñiga to the French agency; she is the hiring manager for the Nel Paradiso restaurant in Havana.
Zúñiga, who is 26 years old, revealed that of the 60 workers hired in the last 14 months, “only 10 remain in Cuba.”
It also hurts the large hotel facilities in the Cuban capital, like the Parque Central Hotel – a joint venture between the Spanish group Iberostar and the Cuban government- which has lost 30% of its employees.
In order to mitigate this deficit, the hotel executives had to hire hotel-industry students in order to fill the vacancies, stated an anonymous source to AFP.
According to data from the University of Havana’s Center for Demographic Studies, the majority of Cubans who are leaving the island are between the ages of 19 and 49, and are highly qualified individuals, an employee qualification that is greatly missed across work centers in the country.
“When you can’t find anything, you feel that you have no prospects for the future, even if you have the means; that sparks the exodus,” stated Stéphane Ferrux to the French press agency. Ferrux is a French citizen who witnessed the departure of a dozen of the 60 service suppliers of the travel agency he manages in Havana since 1995.
The present exodus is happening at a time when Cuba’s population is aging and decreasing. In addition to the demographic variable, the country is facing its worst economic crisis in three decades.
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