Cuba has survived forty-three years of US sanctions intended to overturn the government of Fidel Castro. Yet, you hear in the streets, in the buses and in the stores, "No es fácil." And they are right; making a living in Cuba is not easy. Cuba's state-controlled economy has failed to provide adequate housing for Cubans. The agricultural sector is in disarray because of failed economic policies and mismanagement. Transportation shortages abound, further aggravated by government policies.

In 1990s the US dollar was legalised. Since then dollars-stores have become the only places for Cubans to buy not just luxuries, but some essentials too, particularly clothes. Most Cubans earn between US$ 8 and US$ 13 a month. The legalisation of the US dollar has created harsh divisions between those with dollars and those without. The continuing hardships have led to an increase in prostitution, corruption, black market trade and desperate efforts to escape in search of a better life.

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