Articles Tagged with Castro

raul-300x125Yesterday, Cuba began a five-month transition period that is likely to end the Castro dynasty and make way for elections at the local, provincial, and national levels.

The first phase of the transition will take place during September, where small groups of Cubans will nominate municipal representatives at the local level.

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Cuba-Restaurant-300x200Cuban authorities are reportedly raiding several private restaurants on the island in what appears to be a government crackdown on entrepreneurs transgressing the Castro regime’s definition of free enterprise.

El Litoral, a high-end paladar known for its food and clientele, was the first to get raided by authorities. Officials from the Technical Department of Investigations reportedly carted off tables, chairs, plates, sound systems, and bottles of imported liquor.

Neighboring businesses told news sources that the owner of El Litoral got in trouble because of money laundering allegations. The liquor the restaurant served didn’t come from official government sources and some of its employees were allegedly being paid off the books. Servers also reportedly told clients that they accept dollars if they don’t have CUCs (Cuban convertible pesos). U.S. dollars are not legal tender on the island.

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Cuban-Travel-New-Rules-300x200Tourism has reportedly been a bright spot for the Cuban economy during the first half of 2017, pulling in 23 percent more tourists than the same period last year. But other areas of the island nation’s economy have foundered and failed to meet projected targets, Cuban officials have revealed.

The Cuban economy experienced a 1.1 percent growth during the first half of the year thanks to the tourism, agriculture, and construction sectors. Other economic sectors have reportedly performed poorly as the island bounced back from a recession and faced difficulties securing trade credits.

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cuba-art-2-200x300 A stone’s throw from the Fábrica de Arte Cubano in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana is a large, century-old Cuban villa. Eighteen years ago, it was dilapidated and nearly empty save for an old landlord who could not afford to keep it up. An American expatriate named Pamela Ruiz saw it and fell in love. Due to Cuban law at the time, she could not purchase it outright, and spent the next eight years on a journey of permuta to acquire the house.

Buying and selling private property was not allowed in Cuba, so all transactions had to occur through trading objects of equal value. Over the course of nearly a decade, Ruiz found somebody with whom to swap her apartment so she could offer a residence that the villa’s landlord thought would be a suitable trade. The landlord, after all, was climbing in years and could no longer ascend the kind of stairs that led to Ruiz’s apartment.

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