The Gatekeeper State: Limited Economic Reforms and Regime Survival in Cuba, 1989–2002

  • Javier Corrales
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


In the 1990s the Cuban regime displayed two unexpected characteristics. One was survival. The other was the implementation of uneven economic reforms, meaning that some sectors of the economy were revamped, while others remained untouched. This chapter connects these two outcomes by arguing that uneven economic reforms explain regime survival. Uneven economic reforms served to strengthen the power of the state vis-à-vis society, and within the state, the power of hard-liners. This new type of state, which I call the gatekeeper state, dominates society through a new mechanism—it fragments the economy into different sectors of varying degrees of profitability and then determines which citizens have access to each respective sector. While some authoritarian regimes stay alive by providing widespread economic growth, the Cuban regime in the 1990s has survived by restricting access to capitalist rewards. This has permitted the incumbents to navigate through societal pressures and postpone regime transition.


Foreign Direct Investment Gross Domestic Product Economic Reform Authoritarian Regime Market Reform 
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© Bert Hoffmann and Laurence Whitehead 2007

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  • Javier Corrales

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