Articles Tagged with entrepreneurs

Marco_Rubio_24556513751-300x200In the first quarter of 2018, fewer than 100,000 tourists from America visited Cuba according to statistics published by the Cuban government. This represents a 40% drop compared to the first quarter of 2017 and is squeezing the burgeoning private sector in Cuba at the same time as the government has stopped issuing new business licenses to entrepreneurs.

After the initial détente in Cuban-American relations during the Obama administration, there was an influx of visitors from the U.S. “We had so many Americans coming that we didn’t know where to put them,” explained Matilde Portela, 73, who runs an Airbnb on the island.
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HavanaCuba has undergone its most significant political change since the 1959 revolution in electing Miguel Díaz-Canel as its new president. He takes office at a time of growing economic difficulties in the country. According to the World Bank, the economy is growing at its slowest pace since the 1990s.

In 2011, Raúl Castro implemented reforms to the communist system which allowed some Cubans to buy and sell houses as well as become self-employed. Today, there are over half a million self-employed Cubans. These entrepreneurs had advocated for further economic reforms to help the private sector grow.

However, the ruling Communist Party was unwilling for further changes to take place. Last year, Castro halted the issuing of most new licenses for private enterprises. In doing so, he took responsibility for what he described as his earlier “errors” in the reforms. Continue reading

cuba-fitness-300x201If you live in or near a decent-sized city, you’ve probably noticed that fitness is a fad that doesn’t seem to be going away. From CrossFit gyms to bike lanes to pricey fitness apparel stores, it’s clear that people demand that fitness be more available to them.

Cuba is also jumping on the fitness bandwagon. In a time where it looks like Cuba might finally ease up on private enterprise, more and more entrepreneurs are looking to enter a market that will always be making gains.

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Cuba has seen many changes in the last few years.  With the slow and steady influx of tourism from the US and a regime change, Cuba is gaining momentum as it turns toward more laissez-faire policies.  On a day-to-day level, these changes in policies have manifested themselves as a healthy crop of privately owned establishments–bars, hotels, and nightclubs are booming as Cuba’s private sector grows.

However, last week saw a brief halt in operations when the government instituted a temporary freeze on new licenses for a few of the more prominent private sector enterprises–room rentals, cafés, and restaurants, to name a few.

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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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