Published On: Fri, Sep 11th, 2015

Younger Cubans lead with optimism and entrepreneurship, says new study

CubaENGLEWOOD, USA -- The Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services, said that the younger Cuban generation aged under 18 expressed the highest overall tone of optimism regarding the fast-changing relationship between the US and Cuba with the emotions of love, desire and hope defining their feelings.

These emotions remained true for the 18-34 and 34-54 generations, but fear of no real change took precedence according to an analysis of more than 10.4 million social media posts recorded between December 2014 and August 2015.

The study sponsored by Western Union and conducted by Networked Insights discovered that Cubans – whether living in Cuba or elsewhere in the world – are using social media to express their thoughts and feelings about the fast-changing relationship between the US and Cuba and associated economic and cultural changes anticipated.

In August, the feelings of love, desire and hope among those under 18 equaled 83 percent of emotions expressed, while fear was expressed only sporadically. Even for older Cubans, the combined expressions of love, desire and hope outstripped fear among 18 to 35 year olds (36 percent to 14 percent) and 35 to 54 year olds (27 percent to 19 percent). However, fear ranked within the top three for both older groups.

The emotions captured from the social conversations reflect the passion that Cubans have for their home country, expressing their desire and hope for the future of Cuba and their love of all things Cuban. Fear was associated with concerns about the pace of change to fulfill aspirations for Cuba and US–Cuba relations.

Analysis of social conversation topics over the nine-month period showed that entrepreneurship took strong precedence, with more than 50 percent of the chatter devoted to encouraging start-ups and propelling Cuban ingenuity with an injection of technology and innovation to invigorate Cuba’s economy.

“The recent Cuba momentum has boosted this optimism, and this study reflects what we have seen occurring first-hand across Cuba and that is industrious actions to finding better ways to enhance families and thereby communities – funded by the Cuban diaspora in the United States,” said Odilon Almeida, president, Americas and European Union of Western Union.

“This is true in the world of all our customers. While the world and the technology change, our purpose of connecting people and their aspirations remains at the heart of who we are. When money moves around the world, better things can happen. A business expands. A child goes to college. Emergency aid arrives the moment it’s needed. An economy prospers, an opportunity opens, a community heals,” he said.

The social media participation shows the broad reach of the Cuban Diaspora as well as the widespread interest in Cuba’s future. The social posts from the international community closely track with Cuba diaspora living across the world.

While the highest share of Cuba mentions are from the US (54%), interest in the country expressed via social media channels is widespread: Cuba, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, India and others.

“While Cuba and its relationship with the US primarily impact the lives of Cubans living in these two countries, our study shows recent developments in restoring diplomatic relations is global news. We are happy to see this level of interest and support for Cuba, a country that is striving to improve its economy and presence on the world stage, particularly in the area of business,” said Almeida.

Of the more than 10.4 million posts monitored, the majority came from males (64%). The top five US states with the largest shares of Cuba-related social media posts are Florida (15.7%), New York (14.3%), California (11.9%), Texas (7.1%) and Washington, DC (5.8%). Washington, DC, due to the political nature of current discussions and developments, had the highest proportional participation (posts per person) of any state.

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