Younger Cubans Lead with Optimism and Entrepreneurship, Says Western Union

More than 10.4 million global social media posts reveal Cuban
insights on U.S.-Cuba relations

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services, said
today that the younger Cuban generation aged under 18 expressed the
highest overall tone of optimism regarding the fast-changing
relationship between the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S.–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.

Western Union has been moving money into Cuba from the U.S. for many
years. “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.

In Cuba, Western Union has more than 460 Agent locations – with
representation across all Cuba’s 16 provinces and 168 municipalities.

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 U.S. (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 U.S. 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.

Additional insights

Of the more than 10.4 million posts monitored, the majority came from
males (64%). The top five U.S. 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.

About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is
a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi
Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment
services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast,
reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world,
to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of June 30, 2015, the
Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered
through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200
countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks, and included
the capability to send money to millions of bank accounts. In 2014, The
Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer
transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between
consumers, and 484 million business payments. For more information,
visit www.westernunion.com.

About Networked Insights
Networked Insights enable brands to
connect with and expand their opportunity audiences. Utilizing Kairos
the company analyzes and organizes real-time consumer data from the
social web to uncover strategic, actionable insights. Kairos helps
brands deeply understand their opportunity audiences, create content
that connects with them, choose the right media investments, and track
the connectedness of those audiences. Learn more at
networkedinsights.com and follow @netinsights.

WU-G

Contacts

Western Union
Americas and European Union:
Pia
De Lima, +1 954 260 5732
Pia.DeLima@westernunion.com
or
US:
Sarah
Meske, +1 720-332-2796
sarah.meske@westernunion.com

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