Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Paladares & Trabajo por Cuenta Propia a la vista: 4 items

Here is a round up of four very interesting items concerning self-employment and economic reform in Cuba:


Paladares from Patrick H. Murphy on Vimeo.

First, there is this 9 min. documentary uploaded to Vimeo a few days ago by Pat Murphy called simply, "Paladares," highlighting a few new food service businesses.

In reality, only one is a Paladar and the other two seem to be cafeterias.

The third part of the video focusing on Paladar los Tres Mosqueteros is especially interesting as the owner keeps repeating the very Cuban word "normal" to describe his operation, when in Cuba under the revolution private enterprise is anything but "normal."

Second is this really sharp article published at Cuba Encuentro by dissident Cuban economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe reviewing in great detail the reforms in the area self-employment.

Chepe's surprisingly positive analysis can be summarized as such:
"Not insignificant but still far from sufficient."

Here's a passage from the article to give you a taste:

"Indudablemente la flexibilización de los mecanismos del trabajo por cuenta propia es una vía adecuada para salir de la crisis, aunque todavía los pasos dados distan mucho de los cambios necesarios.
"En especial resulta importante la decisión de entregar a particulares los locales hoy administrados ineficientemente por el Estado. Asimismo es positiva la elevación del número de sillas en los paladares.
"Ambas medidas podrían fomentar pequeñas y medianas empresas (PYMES), prósperas y eficientes, creadoras de puestos de trabajo, con aportes considerables para el Presupuesto Nacional y una saludable competencia que podría mejorar la calidad de los servicios y productos para la población y la economía en su conjunto".

Third is an article with a broader focus from El Pais by the distinguished Cuban-American economist Carmelo Mesa-Lago.

Mesa-Lago largely makes the same "significant-but-not-yet-sufficient" argument as Chepe:

"En conclusión, las reformas y los acuerdos pueden lograr modestas mejoras, pero, a menos que se resuelvan las contradicciones existentes en la dirección y se profundicen los cambios, no conseguirán resolver los problemas económicos y sociales fundamentales.
"En ese caso, podría ocurrir una lucha en la dirección para expandir las reformas. Por el contrario, si prevalece la inercia ocurriría una erosión económica-social mayor y el consiguiente descontento de la población."

Finally, there is this short but sharp article by Veizant Boloy from the blog Asociación Jurídica Cubana critiquing the new self-employment laws as they baldly contradict much existing legislation.

Boloy's point is that old laws should be revoked so that Cuba's new entrepreneurs don't find themselves in legal limbo and vulnerable to prosecution.

1 comment:

  1. While these economic reforms are steps in the right direction, the question is will there be further reforms? If further reforms are insitituted, the economy will reach a tipping point after which it will be difficult if not impossible to revert back to the pure statist economy that existed. The hope is of course that with greater economic freedom, greater political freedom and respect for human rights will follow.

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