Cubans turn backs on self employment…Raul ups remittance requests to 1000´s


After a frenzied government hyped rush to become self employed the interest is waning and many Cubans have returned the coveted licenses which cost between 10 and 30 CUC (10-30$) per month to maintain.


Recent visitors to Havana claim that things have reverted back to normal in the dusty streets of the city and most budding entrepreneurs have given up.


But, who can blame them? Cuba´s economy remains in the doghouse and, the few tourism dollars out there are being lapped up by state run entities, all too eager to receive fresh cash from abroad to prop up the ailing economy.

However, Varadero is a totally different picture. It seems that entrepreneurs in Cuba are alive and well in this tourist Mecca of all inclusive resorts. Streets littered with tiny stands and bicycles adorned with trinkets, all for sale to the 10´s of thousands of Canadians, British and Russian tourists who inhabit, albeit temporarily, the tourist resorts, for stints of 1, 2 or 3 weeks.

Varadero has also seen a surge in Paladares, the private restaurants usually set up in a Cubans home. Those tourists, tired of their monotonous all inclusive food, often venture out for a “night out” (of the hotel), a type of pseudo adventurism for those holed up in all inclusive resorts.

The Cuban government has cunningly aimed their offers of self employment to those who can beg for extra remittances from family abroad. After all, setting up a business is not cheap anywhere and, in Cuba, can be expensive. So, if you’re the guy selling everything (Cuban state owns all wholesale/retail outlets) then, Cubans with ambition, begging for extra money to spend in government stores to start a business can´t be a bad deal.

Other, almost perverse strategies to get family abroad to send much larger amounts, is the touted sales of motor vehicles and even property. Now, are we missing something here? The Cuban state employs 90% of the population so it knows how much people get paid, no? Is the average monthly salary not 15 USD? So, offering Cubans a “new right” to buy, say a car, for $10,000 with no available credit would be a futile ploy, no? Well, Raul Castro, reliant increasingly on remittances from family abroad thinks it’s now time for those family members to send some “real money”. And the “extra freedom” offers won´t stop at cars or pseudo self employment deals. You´ll see higher and higher ticket items being pushed to seemingly financially bankrupt Cubans in the hope that family abroad fall for the new buzzword of “increased freedoms” for Cubans.

Some people have heralded these “extra freedoms” as a bold move forward by the Castro regime. However, those with at least a little common sense know that it’s a cascade of ploys to get remittances to skyrocket in an attempt to stave off state bankruptcy on a massive scale.

Anyone know when the government will open the new Rolex outlet in Old Havana?

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