Why Cuban cab drivers earn more than doctors

Why Cuban cab drivers earn more than doctors


[“A doctor ends up making about $40 a month.
On my worst days driving taxi, I bring in $60–In one day”] Did you catch that? This guy makes more in
one day than a doctor makes in a month. And he’s a taxi driver. He’s actually
trained as an engineer but engineers make even less than doctors. “I like being a taxi driver, not an engineer” Welcome to the Cuban economy. Right after the socialist revolution in 1959,
Fidel Castro’s government seized almost all private businesses and land. [You won’t have to worry about next year.
The state will do your planning from now on.] Every restaurant, factory, hospital and home
was property of the government. The State set prices for everything and decided
how much people got paid. The private sector disappeared overnight. [The men in this world desperately need: economic
reform.] You can see the result of this when you go
looking for food in Havana. When I showed up, I was pretty excited to
see what street food was on offer. But all i could find was this. Everywhere
I turned. This is a typical scene in a Cuban eatery:
too many employees in an empty establishment with empty shelves, just waiting for food
deliveries from the government, and putting in their eight hours so they can go home. They get paid the same whether they sell one
plate of food, or fifty. This model doesn’t work. Cuba survived for many years with subsidies
from the Soviet Union. But since its collapse, the economy been getting
worse every year. This lady is showing me her government ration
cards that she’s kept for decades. Cubans use these monthly cards to go the storage
house to get their monthly rations. The
government realized this in the 90s and has
started giving out private licenses, fueling a small but growing private sector. I stumbled upon a private restaurant in Havana
that was a totally different experience than the public ones. There was actually movement,
and good service. The owners had to actually sell good food
if they wanted to stay in business. Which brings me back to the Taxi driver and
the doctor. The reason a taxi drivers make so much more
than doctors is because they have private licenses. Their salaries are not set by the
state. And they can charge tourists high prices.
I paid 25 dollars to get from the airport into Havana. And inn that 30 minute drive, my driver made
more than the average monthly salary of a Cuban, which is $20. One of the problems with this is that you
have highly trained workers leaving their trade to go do remedial work in the private
sector. This guy is an engineer, but he’s cooking
in a private restaurant. These guys are accountants by trade but make
a killing driving around tourists on taxi bikes. This woman is a nurse, but she hasn’t
been in a hospital in years. This guy is an electrical engineer but opened
up a barber shop in his house and makes ten times more than he would in his field of study. Imagine trying to live on the Cuban average
of $20 per month. When you ask them how they do it, they all have the same response. “Everyone has to do something in addition
to their official salary.” Just beneath the surface in Cuba is a bustling
informal market where Cuban’s make an additional income on top of their official salary, just
to survive. We tend to associate black markets with dangerous
activities. But in Cuba, people sell illegal popsicles, or newspapers — not to get rich,
but just to survive. But things are slowly changing. Since Fidel’s brother Raul took over in
2008, the number of private licenses has increased significantly every year. And now 20% of the
economy is now private. Still, most Cubans are jaded by the decades
they have had to use illegal creativity just to survive. “There is one party. They control everything.
What change could there possibly be?”

100 Comments

  • Camiii La

    August 28, 2019

    Viva Che Guevara!!

    Reply
  • Bogdan Zivkovic

    August 28, 2019

    Why do these Americans dont understand that they can live with 40$ a month or even less because most of the basic stuff is provided by the government. Socialism can work.

    Reply
  • pioco56

    August 28, 2019

    You shouldn't expect to become a doctor and that you'll make a bunch of money.

    Reply
  • pioco56

    August 28, 2019

    Everyone in cuba has free degrees.

    Reply
  • Jordan De Marchi

    August 28, 2019

    That's why communism never works

    Reply
  • Maha

    August 28, 2019

    This is so accurate, you did a great job! I visited Cuba 3 years ago and I was so impressed by how people manage to earn money. I was also shocked by the lack of diversity concerning food. It was particularly hard for me because I don't eat pork. My local guide explained the problem to me. He said being a farmer costs too much. They have to ask the government for permission and borrow money from them which is not easy. I hope thing will get better soon. Cubans are so humble, they deserve better. They are fighters and survivors. I wish them a bright future.

    Reply
  • Hammster Wonder Cheeks

    August 28, 2019

    At the 1:00 mark, dude don't diss the Cuban sandwich. An actual Cuban sandwich is a rare find in America

    Reply
  • kawfi

    August 28, 2019

    and this is exactly what happens when you have a poor government that controls everything. America does not need a big government! Bigger government equals less freedoms. the government works for us, we don’t work for the government. We made the government to help us, but as you see, they let it get out of hand and now the government took away their freedoms. tsk tsk

    Reply
  • Yeetus Fetus

    August 29, 2019

    Cuba exports thousands of doctors to over 60 countries, those doctors make on average 1k per month even tho their original contact is 3000 or more per month the government keeps it. Even so it's a lot for em

    Reply
  • Karim Amin

    August 29, 2019

    Welcome to socialism

    Reply
  • Dave Berswick

    August 29, 2019

    Because they are allowed to rip off tourists.

    Reply
  • Oscar Encinas

    August 29, 2019

    This is coming to USA if we don’t wake up

    Reply
  • Uriel Valenzetti Santiago

    August 29, 2019

    Dude went deep into Cuba's Past I honestly forgot about the cab drivers lol
    nailed it though, nice video.

    Reply
  • Nathann Williams

    August 30, 2019

    I’m Cuban and I just went to Santiago and my cousin who is a teacher makes 20 dollars a month it is sad

    Reply
  • angela fields

    August 30, 2019

    that's so sad. makes me wish I had money to help some out

    Reply
  • Piped and drought

    August 30, 2019

    Its such a struggle they do capitalism themselves

    Reply
  • Cameron Dunleavy

    August 30, 2019

    Meanwhile in the US a teacher has to work two jobs whilst a hedge fund manager earns the same in one week 🤷‍♂️

    Reply
  • ThE DuCk

    August 30, 2019

    Socialism is nothing more than the desire to make everyone equally miserable.

    Reply
  • Vladimir Kolsov

    August 31, 2019

    It's because all Cubans receive free and universal education from pre-school to university. Everyone is over-qualified because they all go to university. There's not enough high paying jobs for all of the students, though.

    Reply
  • Shivnarayan Sose

    August 31, 2019

    Best chan

    Reply
  • alejandra pan

    August 31, 2019

    if you want good cuban food come to miami! sadly in cuba culture and enjoyment has been oppressed

    Reply
  • XellNoverseTV

    August 31, 2019

    STONKS

    Reply
  • athi jinx

    September 1, 2019

    Must be a horrible doctor lol 40 dollars a month

    Reply
  • Charles Charlemagne

    September 1, 2019

    Bernie Sanders vision for America

    Reply
  • Gochi Gang

    September 1, 2019

    Poor engineers ,im also an engineer

    Reply
  • EGstill85

    September 1, 2019

    What I don’t understand is if the truth pertaining to skilled professionals earning less than enough to survive on the government regulated wage is a reality of life understood throughout the Cuban population, then why did any of the people interviewed or anyone else living in Cuba even bother earning a degree allowing them to practice in their respective trades? Why did they forego years of money earning potential in the unskilled private labor sector to study for a career they never plan to pursue?
    I’m sure that with only 1/5th of the market allowed to become privatized, a part of the reason is there being absolutely no guarantee that a government permit to work in the private sector would ever be issued. Also, the method of how private work licenses are distributed to a only a small fraction of the entire population (who must inevitably wish they were able to also make more in 20 minutes than their current profession allows them to take home in a month), is an interesting angle I would have liked to see this video address. While I know nothing about Cuba’s socio-economic conditions, I’m fairly confident that this sort of supply and demand scenario is too much of a temptation for deep rooted corruption not to play a factor? Interesting piece nonetheless Vox, well done showing and explaining a culture we literally never hear so much as a whisper about in our self obsessed, living in a bubble regular news cycle.

    Reply
  • Thabiso Nodangala

    September 1, 2019

    That's so messed up

    Reply
  • Neek

    September 2, 2019

    Their doctors are good people. Wow. I would never work that hard for that little.

    Reply
  • Cat Meaow Miauw

    September 2, 2019

    Socialist economy can't make you get enough quality & quantity food

    Reply
  • Montreal VSM

    September 2, 2019

    This is what happens when the US declares a trade war on Cuba. It has nothing to do with Socialism or Communism. In fact Cuba is better off than most South American countries in terms of accessibility to schooling and healthcare. Why do you think all these people are highly trained? Because with a socialist government you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg to become a professional.

    Reply
  • Sarah Skupien

    September 2, 2019

    They have healthcare, and the US doesn’t

    Reply
  • KING NOSS

    September 3, 2019

    Dear ANC

    Reply
  • user name

    September 4, 2019

    They have free education and free health care what else do you want

    Reply
  • Mark Burle

    September 4, 2019

    Beautiful Socialism and Communism ❤️

    Reply
  • Gyran300 Channel

    September 4, 2019

    Now do a documentary on capitalism, with extreme poverty, no access to medical care or no money to educate your children. Not saying communism works but these people dont have bills for housing schooling and medical care, so your 20 dollars are just fun money.
    Dont forget capitalism only works for middle and upper class people but has a very dark and criminal poverty issue.. Look at democratic India or Brazil to see our system isnt fantastic either for everyone.

    Reply
  • Abdifahi Abdirizak

    September 5, 2019

    Cuba government You reap what you sow! Remember how the Cuba government soldiers were used against my country by the Soviets to aid Ethiopia that had our land by force !

    Reply
  • darthspeaks

    September 5, 2019

    When you to break the law to survive you are not in a country, you are in a prison.

    Reply
  • Alfonso López Martínez

    September 5, 2019

    So capitalism is the answer… surprise surprise!!

    Reply
  • KingJay

    September 5, 2019

    Fidel Castro is The cause of this

    Reply
  • Andrew hohenthaner

    September 6, 2019

    Thank goodness we have Bernie running for President. After the election, we too can enjoy the thrill of dark market self-employment.

    Reply
  • Balaxane

    September 6, 2019

    Because socialism has the audacity to believe health care is a human right, not a privilege.

    Reply
  • xAlpaca Zeu

    September 7, 2019

    End with communism

    Reply
  • JiTiAr35

    September 7, 2019

    Simple. Because communism.

    Reply
  • Nuke Em

    September 7, 2019

    Thats because of American sanctions

    Reply
  • Nuke Em

    September 7, 2019

    Bruh and I thought iraq was bad
    You could make 25$ without education
    And if you’re a doctor you will be getting about a 1000$ dollars a day

    Reply
  • Joey Sorrenti

    September 8, 2019

    Thats what socialism looks like you should live there

    Reply
  • That Thing

    September 8, 2019

    Just don't be a doctor or if you want to than move somewhere where you get payed more.

    Reply
  • Jacob Stewart

    September 8, 2019

    Why doesn't the government set the wages higher?

    Reply
  • B. Hummel

    September 8, 2019

    This is literally showing how socialism doesn’t work

    Reply
  • boo boo

    September 9, 2019

    Socislism creates overeducated slaves. There's your free education, Americans. Have a free degree, but starve.

    Reply
  • Blubber whale

    September 9, 2019

    I cant believe America really wants this “democratic socialism” in their own country

    Reply
  • Bryan Abad

    September 10, 2019

    While people dont have anything in Cuba, go see Raul Castro's house. His got everything food, wine,internet, cable. Their is your communism.

    Reply
  • Susana B

    September 10, 2019

    I was in Cuba a couple months ago and pretty much the people who work in the tourist sector are the ones making a better wages. But now that the cruise ships are no longer allowed to dock they are also suffering.

    Reply
  • Butcher the Silence

    September 10, 2019

    Fidel’s Socialist system never collapsed : this is his socialist system.

    Reply
  • Max Mustermann

    September 11, 2019

    I am glad that I grew up in Germany…

    Reply
  • Regina Let's Go

    September 11, 2019

    Não precisa ir pra Cuba, conheço muito engenheiro que virou Uber por falta de emprego…

    Reply
  • Redsand

    September 11, 2019

    Why is this bad?

    Reply
  • Andrew Cummins

    September 11, 2019

    AOC gives this video 👎

    Reply
  • Ethyn Brown

    September 11, 2019

    This is what liberals want

    Reply
  • Md. Mostafa Khan

    September 11, 2019

    In Bangladesh an MBBS doctor makes on average 15000+ USD per month. The scenario is not the same for other jobs though and it's quite contradictory.

    Reply
  • Alex leBlanc

    September 11, 2019

    do a video on how the US robbed latin america blind, there is a documentary out there called Banana land

    Reply
  • Ben Strickley

    September 12, 2019

    Hey kids, let’s learn why communism never works.

    Reply
  • Juan Hernandez

    September 12, 2019

    Tourists tourists

    Reply
  • Finlay Cooney

    September 12, 2019

    If cuba wasn’t bullied by America they wouldn’t have half the economic problems that they face

    Reply
  • Tomas Lajara

    September 13, 2019

    Wait does this mean socialism doesn’t work 😂💀

    Reply
  • Sub to me if i top the comments

    September 13, 2019

    The only free and awesome thing cuban government has given is lung cancer vaccine.

    Reply
  • Mark Miller

    September 13, 2019

    Cuba is disgusting.

    Reply
  • ElHandi 18.7

    September 13, 2019

    Communism is Disgusting.

    Reply
  • coffeexvlog

    September 14, 2019

    Pretty soon this will be America

    Reply
  • Yilan Chen

    September 15, 2019

    communism only works for dictators.

    Reply
  • Koshka xD

    September 15, 2019

    Sounds like malaysia

    Reply
  • A1tFive

    September 15, 2019

    60 dollars a day? Is that it?

    Reply
  • Bryant Anniban

    September 15, 2019

    Behold the consequence of demonic communism. The enemy of all normal state

    Reply
  • Alex Soltan

    September 16, 2019

    This was filmed in 2015. I want for a visit in 2019 and it’s not as bad as this guy is making it to be.

    Reply
  • Iced

    September 16, 2019

    that's it

    Reply
  • quee too

    September 16, 2019

    NYC Yellow cab driver to fellow Cuban cab drivers watch out for UBER AND LYFT do Not let them in ur country

    Reply
  • Mr Sausage

    September 17, 2019

    this does not explain why cuban cigar so expensive

    Reply
  • Heinrich Joubert

    September 17, 2019

    Communism

    Reply
  • frawldog

    September 17, 2019

    🇨🇺 👍

    Reply
  • Lourdes Perez

    September 18, 2019

    My mom made SUBSTANTIALLY more renting our two bedroom apartment in Vedado to Europeans than she ever did being a family practitioner in the mid 90s. It was a sad situation and still is.

    Reply
  • habibbi alikafe

    September 20, 2019

    why does it matter if i only make $20 a day if everything is mad cheap and i have rations to get all my essentials? you didnt go into how the taxi driver has to pay for food and necesseties but a doctor gets them for free.

    Reply
  • Anthony Maurice

    September 20, 2019

    How does Cuba and north Korea exist today??? These countries should have been bombed of the map!

    Reply
  • G J W

    September 20, 2019

    So both socialism and communism are failures. US Govt is 19+ trillion in debt till date. Communism results in brain drain with ridiculous wages.

    Reply
  • Alma :/

    September 20, 2019

    25$! That’s nothing! In Sweden a 30 minute taxiride from the airport to the city central costs about 55$!

    Reply
  • Konstantin Rodzaevsky

    September 21, 2019

    Clearly no one hear understands inflation.

    Reply
  • Goat Cheese

    September 23, 2019

    Ima finna be a Cuban taxi driver

    Reply
  • Georgy

    September 23, 2019

    If Venezuela can stand up to communism we can too. Freedom for cuba🇨🇺 mi papa fue parte de las damas de blanco💪🏼

    Reply
  • Moises Perera

    September 23, 2019

    Very well done video!!!! Thats the reality of Cuba!!! Thats why we don’t want democratic/socialists in the USA!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • Кайсар Пернебек

    September 24, 2019

    The same situation with Kazakhstan

    Reply
  • Fullbright

    September 24, 2019

    The same is in Balkans.

    Reply
  • Damian Lopez

    September 24, 2019

    A very interesting and very factual video of Cuba. I love the country but not the government but I will always be Cuban

    Reply
  • HardKicks Tv

    September 24, 2019

    FRIIENDS ACADEMY MATHEW POLKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • Can’t think of a Name

    September 26, 2019

    Here in Canada just working in any store you will most likely make 100$ or more per month depends on your job.
    My aunt works in bath and body works and she makes 300$-400$ dollars per month.
    Cause here you make 14 dollars per hour.

    Reply
  • Felix hk

    September 26, 2019

    Wow, this make me grateful to be born in Indonesia, not as bad as Cuba.

    Reply
  • Pizzaz Paz

    September 26, 2019

    In my country: $3626 USD per month for accountant

    This country: Less than $50 (Assuming it's USD) monthly

    Reply
  • Sam Collins

    September 28, 2019

    This is pretty terrible, but before Fidel every private business was owned by rich Americans and people where making just as little. Communism doesn't work, as we see here, but neither does American death grips on foreign economies

    Reply
  • __

    September 29, 2019

    Bruh my sister is a nurse and gets over 1000 a week

    Reply
  • Alexander Zenebe

    September 30, 2019

    Stop the embargo let us see cuba flourish.

    Reply
  • Cody Koh

    October 1, 2019

    Havana u na na

    Reply
  • Cantong Chong

    October 2, 2019

    The comments here are better than pay-TV. But seriously , Doc's in Cuba get paid zip because the population is still healthy. If you stay off take-outs and junk you mystearially remain healthy. As people get sicker so also do doctors bank accounts. All the same $40 a month in Cuba is killing the Pig.

    Reply

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