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Cuba announces small private businesses can hire and fire labour

Tuesday, May 17th 2011 - 06:05 UTC
Full article 3 comments
Raul Castro, still walking on the cliff Raul Castro, still walking on the cliff

Cuba has given all small businesses the authority to hire (and fire) labour and will loosen other regulations governing private enterprise as part of the broader measures to reform the island’s economy and boost production, the government said in a statement.

The measure was the latest indication that President Raul Castro's government has decided to loosen its grip on economic sectors that include retail services, construction and transportation in favour of private business. Last year, the government allowed some types of family businesses and skilled trades to hire workers.

The government said that “the Council of Ministers agreed to extend to all non-state activities authorization to contract workers and continue the process of making more flexible regulations on self employment”.

The Cuban government has also promoted small, family and cooperative farming with access to the open market for their produce, in a desperate attempt to limit the island’s food bill and threatens scarce foreign currency holdings.

The Cuban economy is dominated by the state, which employed about 85% of the labour force through 2009. Last year Raul Castro announced plans to lay off hundreds of thousands of workers and move them to what it called the “non-state” sector as part of an efficiency drive.

“We’re walking on a cliff” said Raul Castro at the time adding that the least error and it’s all over for the revolution.

In the years after the 1959 revolution, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, now retired, nationalized all small businesses. Half a century later capitalism is rapidly returning to overhaul an obsolete economy which the regime admitted, has not been working for the last three decades.

Last September, the government began issuing new licenses, allowed family businesses to rent space outside their homes, sign contracts with the state, hire labour and seek bank credits, among other measures.

More than 200,000 new licenses have been granted since October, compared with less than 150,000 that existed previously.
 

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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  • Sergio Vega

    Fidelito y Raulito.... after 52 years of oppresion and terror against your own people you must reconigze that your were wrong and your comunist way was a lay and now, after a lot of dead freedom defenders, you have been forced by the cruelty of facts to make steps back and accept the capitalism as the only way to develop your country without an explanation or forgiveness to those that have fallen due your submision to a cruel politic thinking (converted into an almost religious party)....
    The worst is that you not only have affected your countryman, even affceted the all LATAM on the last century (my country was one of the most affected in a bad way, of course) and that now, some “clever LATAM leaders” as Huguito, Rafaelito, Evito.... and Cristinita (in some way) have been following your previous steps to sink their own countries into a similar oppresion and dictatorship...
    Well done to all of them, specially to those that are now doing the firts steps that others must undo in 50 years more in those countries...
    R.I.P. for them....

    May 17th, 2011 - 02:17 pm 0
  • Kirk Nelson

    The world is living in the XXI century, but Cuba is not, so how in the world this country can become a leader, at least of itself?
    Why is the big deal of hiring and firing by small business managers?
    Is this the kind of thinking , matipulation and government control that Cuba wants to inyect to Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela?
    Central and South-American countries are the poor countries, for sure not only in the American continent, but also its economic and industralization functions are similarities as many countries of Africa and Asia.
    I have looked into the number of positive innovations and contributions to the world by all those nations and I found none of them, being the core trade why they are importing countries rather than exporting mainly in the areas of space industry, manufacturing, health investigation and research and so on and so on.
    Now, it is clear why they are excellent countries to export to the EU and to the USA immigrates. Their public officers do not care about its own citizen, because corruption and individual power is the mold to domain the population at their taste.
    I am so sorry for the Cubans, because there is no light in their life's tunel.

    May 17th, 2011 - 10:29 pm 0
  • GeoffWard

    #2: Surely there must be some positive innovations and contributions to the worlds fund of knowledge that have come out of Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela.
    It is *extremely* unlikely that there have been none!

    By the same token, have there been volumes of ground-breaking indigenous development (positive innovations and contributions to the worlds fund of knowledge) from eg. Brasil, Argentina, Chile, etc.?

    I know South Americans have returned from first world research teams to set up labs back home, but what has been initiated ab initio in S.A. and has been world changing / paradigm shifting?

    May 17th, 2011 - 10:45 pm 0
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