In the 1990s the Cuban government instituted a “dual economy,” creating a dollar economy parallel to the peso economy as part of the reform package designed to address economic crisis. Expansion of the tourism sector as a dollar industry was central to efforts to raise revenue, as Cuba began limited and regulated interaction with the global capitalist economy. In an effort to quarantine Cubans from capitalist inequities, citizens were prohibited from accessing tourist facilities other than as workers. Some have referred to this as “tourist apartheid.” This study finds that “apartheid” is not an accurate classification of the system in Cuba; rather, the policy is comparable to an economic “firewall” designed to allow regulated engagement with the international capitalist community, while preventing ingress of capitalism domestically.

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