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Cuban Economic News
Archive: 2016

Stiglitz and the Cuban economy  12/26/2016 On Cuba: "For me, his time in the World Bank as chief economist perhaps was the most relevant, especially because it marked new tendencies in that organization and under his direction one of the most notable Development Reports of the 1990s was published, where an in-depth analysis was made of the role of knowledge in development and economic growth. Already by that time – we’re talking of 20 years ago – several Cuban economists had carried out works where the importance of that factor for Cuba’s economic development was demonstrated and also, as a leading factor of those researches, that Cuba had to promote economic policies that would make that advantage really effective."

Twin sisters make cigars to celebrate different shades of the AfroCuban diaspora  12/20/2016 Miami Herald: "According to the sisters, most of their business comes from black Americans. Tres Lindas Cubanas, which was named after a Cuban song and translates to three pretty Cuban girls, also serves as homage to the variety of shades of black women across the world and the complexion of the three blends of cigars available through their brand."

FIART 2016 entrega sus premios  12/19/2016 Radio Rebelde: "Los proyectos ZULU, por colección de Bolsos y Carteras, y Mosaicos Textiles, de la Asociación Cubana de Artesanos Artistas (ACAA), ambos de la capital, resultaron premiados en la categoría de Productos."

Who is afraid of Cuban music? A self-interview with JOAQUÍN BORGES-TRIANA  12/13/2016 Cuba Counterpoints: "What do you think are the main difficulties that music-makers face in Cuba? The first is the absence of a national market for music. This creates a situation where records and recording apparatuses are sold at prohibitive prices, and in a currency that is not the same as that which is paid to the average citizen. Therefore, it is almost impossible for a Cuban musician to have his/her records bought by the public or by the intended recipient for which the sonic creation is produced. In addition, there are too many musicians in relation to the State’s limited capacity to produce records."

¿Quién le tiene miedo a la música en Cuba?  12/13/2016 Cuba Posible: "¿Cuáles piensas que son las mayores dificultades que enfrentan los creadores musicales en Cuba? La primera es la ausencia de un mercado nacional para la música. En ello influye que los discos y el aparato reproductor se comercializan en precios prohibitivos y en una moneda que no es con la que se le paga al ciudadano promedio. Por tanto, al músico cubano le resulta punto menos que imposible que sus discos sean comprados por el público o destinatario natural para el cual se hace esa creación sonora."

Carlos Cristóbal Márquez Valdés  12/7/2016 Marti Noticias: "La misiva promovida por la empresa Cuba Educational Travel, y el grupo de cabildeo a favor del deshielo Engage Cuba, ha sido suscrita por más de 100 dueños de paladares, servicios tecnológicos y de autos y peluquerías, entre otros pequeños negocios."

A U.S.-Cuba Breach Presents an Opportunity for China  11/29/2016 WSJ: "While U.S. remittances total more than all Cuban exports, Beijing’s trade with island is growing fast "

Given the incentive, Cuba’s economy could boom  11/28/2016 The National, South Africa 

Cuba must shun capitalism and seek development solutions from within  11/11/2016 Guardian: ""Cuba needs to learn quickly what these other countries learned to their cost – that institutions matter. Rather than plunging into the cauldron of free market forces, the Cuban government needs to build the solid institutional framework that has been termed “the developmental state”." ...The Cuban government should resist any recalcitrant calls to deploy the microcredit model as a major part of its transition strategy. Microfinance has not succeeded in generating a sustainable, “bottom-up” development trajectory anywhere in the world (and for clear lessons one need only look at the disaster that has taken place in Bosnia and Herzegovina)."

Cuba Ventures on Why an Incoming Trump Administration Will be Good for U.S.-Cuba Rapprochement  11/10/2016 Cuba Ventures: "Even the Trump-friendly corporate lobbying group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) has called for the normalization of U.S. trade relations with Cuba, which would be consistent with its free market agenda."

Nothing for Ordinary Cubans  11/4/2016 Havana Times: "The internet isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Plus, the 2 CUC (US $2.30) price tag for a 1 hour access card is still a great blow to the Cuban people’s economy. However, the problem isn’t only the government’s expensive price, but also the cruel initiative that resellers take. They take advantage of the fact there are very few ETECSA retail outlets and that employees there would rather sell them in bulk in exchange for getting a few cents extra for each card sold, since when these are sold directly to the general population, they don’t get a cut."

Invertir en Cuba: ¿Qué dicen los empresarios?  11/3/2016 Cubainformación: "¿Qué beneficios tiene invertir en Cuba? ¿Cómo ha sido este proceso para algunas de las empresas ya asentadas en la Isla? ¿Cuánto frena el bloqueo económico a los hombres de negocios que apuestan por la Mayor de las Antillas? Reconocidas firmas como Nestlé, Havana Club Internacional e Iberostar compartieron sus opiniones al respecto durante la clausura del primer Foro de Negocios celebrado en el marco de la 34 Feria Internacional de La Habana."

Cuba Shuts Itself Off to US Businesspeople  11/2/2016 Havana Times: "Cleber’s investment meant that the Cuban Government would have to take too many ideological risks, said John Kavulich, the director of the US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. Accepting this project “would be seen as the country accepting the US’ current statutes, laws and policies. That it had given in,” said Kavulich according to Miami’s El Nuevo Herald. “They feel confident that with the existing subsidies, loans and debt restructuring, projects focusing on energy and the revenue from US visitors and visitors from other countries, the government will be able to remain firm in its resistance against any significant commercial and economic commitments with companies based in the US,” he added, according to the Miami newspaper."

Cooperatives Drive Cuban Agriculture  10/21/2016 Iowa Public TV 

“Ones to Watch” for Cuba Tech  10/13/2016 The New Cuba: "If you had been really dialed into the scene before arriving to Cuba, you would have been tipped off to a cool restaurant app called Alamesa, which lists 900 restaurants with addresses, phone numbers and reviews — and it works brilliantly offline. Game-changer. Who is the creator of this app? His name is Ariel Causa Menendez, and this week, the young Cuban was awarded for his invention by the recent 10X10KCuba contest along with 9 of his industry peers in a competition that sought to select the 10 most promising Tech startups in Cuba today."

Thanks To Santería, Cuba Is Experiencing An Economic Boom  10/3/2016 Vibe: “People who become santeros are often waiting for a foreigner to come from the outside so that they can make money. You can’t survive with what the government pays you, so santeros do whatever it takes to survive like charge tourists a lot of money for their services and, in a way, are obligated to do these illegal things. It’s all about survival.”

Persiguen cuentapropistas ilegales  10/2/2016 Cartas desde Cuba: "Según Raúl González Quintana, secretario del Consejo de Administración Provincial (CAP), “además de la imposición de 1500 pesos (CUP) de multa a quienes desempeñen cualquier actividad de forma ilícita, aplicaremos con fuerza el decomiso de los medios e instrumentos que utilizan para su labor. La ley es rigurosa en tal sentido. “Si el ciudadano emplea una bicicleta para comercializar algo, la puedo decomisar; si dispone del auto como taxi y carece de licencia operativa, igual queda estipulado el decomiso del vehículo; incluso, si arrienda su inmueble, existe la prerrogativa para abrir un proceso a través de la dirección de Vivienda y decomisarlo. Todo está bien claro en el Decreto Ley 315, en lo referente a aquellos que ejercen de modo ilegal”."

One of Cuba's fastest growing economies is inspired by the life of saints  9/29/2016 Fusion: “Santeria has become really trendy,” he told me in his living room, as his son’s stereo thumped U.S. rap songs in the next room. “Whites have been coming to Cuba and practicing this black religion and stealing our secrets. They began to realize that there was money to be made and they started taking advantage.”

Fantasmas y amenazas de la revolución cubana  9/24/2016 Cartas desde Cuba: "Por su parte, militar por cuenta propia en el ejército del socialismo también tiene un costo. En La Joven Cuba hemos acompañado el proceso revolucionario, apoyándolo desde la crítica y la alternatividad. Pero algunos creen que todo aquello que no venga por la vía institucional, no rinda cuentas verticalmente, no entre en el sistema de trabajo centralizado y planificado, lo que no cumpla estos parámetros es una amenaza. Y así nos han tratado a menudo, sin mucho éxito gracias a las fuerzas revolucionarias dentro de las instituciones, en la estructura estatal."

Camila en el macrocosmos del micro mecenazgo  9/17/2016 Progreso Semanal: "Desde que comenzó a “crowfundiar” Camila Carballo no se va a dormir sin saber qué contenido agitará al día siguiente en las redes. Una foto vieja o nueva. Un amigo que encuentra en la calle. Una reflexión sobre caer y levantarse. Algo que lee de pasada en un libro o periódico que un fulano sostiene abierto bajo el sol en el camino de su apartamento semiderruido en el Vedado hasta la zona Wi-fi de 23 y L. Cualquier detalle ingenioso o sentimental puede abrirle paso hasta otro mecenas. Y otro mecenas. Y otro."

Red cubana de producción audiovisual nace este mes  9/13/2016 Progreso Semanal: "Como una red de servicios de producción audiovisual surge Encuadre, una plataforma que desde finales de este mes de septiembre reunirá a profesionales, organizaciones y empresas para intercambiar ideas y propuestas de trabajo. Bajo la máxima “Encuentra en Cuba todo lo que necesitas para hacer audiovisuales”, la iniciativa parece ser la primera de su tipo en el país."

Barbara’s Modas, creación cubana  9/11/2016 Masoneria Libertaria: "El Proyecto Barbara’s Modas, liderado por mujeres emprendedoras Afro-descendientes en La Habana, pese de la precaria situación de sus recursos, avanza la primera etapa de su programa, a partir de los nuevos diseños creados realizan modificaciones y pruebas a los vestuarios que usarán en el futuro, un equipo de modelaje en una exposición pública. Sobre este tema abundó más en profundidad la abogada, diseñadora y Directora del Proyecto Barbara´s Modas, Deyni Terry Abreu."

Barbara’s Fashion an Afro-Cuban Led Project  9/10/2016 Havana Times: "The Barbara’s Fashion Project, led by Afro-descendant Cuban women entrepreneurs in Cojimar, Havana, advances in the first phase of its program, despite the precarious situation of its resources. The group is currently working on new designs with an eye towards a public fashion show in the future. We spoke with Terry Deyni Abreu, a lawyer and designer and the project’s director."

PayPal sanctions the word “Cuba”  9/7/2016 OnCuba: "But a year before PayPal had to pay 7.7 million dollars as part of an agreement with OFAC, the authority that indicated that for over several years up until 2013, the company had not adequately reflected the transactions so that the agency could detect people or entities subject to sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan."

AT&T and ETECSA will connect Cuba and the US for voice, text and data  8/22/2016 OnCuba: "AT&T and ETECSA have concluded negotiations and signed agreements direct connection for the exchange of international voice traffic between the USA and Cuba, as the Cuban company announced today in an institutional statement. The agreements provide for roaming voice, text and data services for AT&T customers traveling to Cuba; as well as providing telephone calls through direct connection between the two countries."

Moda y afrodescencia: Una iniciativa de emprendimiento en Cuba  8/21/2016 Negra Cubana: "Ya mucha gente en la isla no se cree el cuento del ajiaco, porque de sobra se sabe que ya servido el delicioso plato no todas las viandas han alcanzado el mismo grado de cocción. Es por eso que celebro las iniciativas donde se intenta destacar intencionalmente la cultura afrocubana, entendiendo por ello, en mi opinión, aquella que resalta nuestro vínculo con el continente madre."

Encuadre, una red social para el audiovisual cubano  8/19/2016 Progreso Semanal: "Encuadre, la única red cubana de producción audiovisual que se anuncia en el horizonte, planea comenzar con un producto mínimo viable. Pero aun así es una empresa ambiciosa. En abril, durante la Muestra Joven del ICAIC, sus cinco fundadores dijeron que el sitio web estaría online en julio, luego anunciaron dos plazos más, uno en agosto y otro en septiembre."

PayPal Froze My Account After I Bought A Cuban Cigar  8/18/2016 Forbes: "According to the new rules, U.S. citizens traveling abroad are allowed to consume Cuban goods. A tourist visiting Mexico City can buy a glass of Cuban rum or an expensive Cuban cigar and pay for the purchase with a major credit card such as MasterCard or Visa. Current restrictions place a $100 limit on Cuban cigars brought back to the U.S. by people visiting Cuba. The ban has been lifted on goods purchased and consumed by tourists traveling outside of the U.S.\r\n\r\nI’ve written about Amazon successfully entering Mexico’s e-commerce market. In a country with low credit card penetration PayPal has a chance to expand its business in Mexico’s e-commerce market.\r\n\r\nMy account, however, is still frozen. So, apparently, PayPal is still figuring out how to do business in Latin America when it comes to allowing users to purchase and enjoy Cuban goods."

Paypal halted a transaction because it contained the word "Cuba"  8/17/2016 BoIng Boing: "The lesson: don't use forbidden words when sending someone money via PayPal. Better yet, use Bitcoin instead."

IT Outsourcers, Get Ready for the Castro Dividend  8/17/2016 Nearshore Americas: "Yet, beyond the allure of Cuba’s shabby-chic hotels and the prospect of improving the island’s decrepit roads, there is an even greater prize for investors with vision: Cuba possesses immense STEM talent. Today, physicians, thousands of whom are sent abroad to friendly countries in exchange for foreign aid to Havana, are probably the most prominent part of this group, but this is only one segment. There are tens of thousands of IT professionals on the island."

Cooperatives Becoming Bigger Part of Cuba’s Reforms  8/16/2016 Counterpunch: "There is a consensus among informed observers that a primary reason for the Communist Party’s slowness in promulgating clear rules for the formation of cooperatives is that the party leadership has yet to reach a consensus itself."

How Much Is a Contract Worth in Cuba?  8/16/2016 Havana Times: "A small group of former state employees in the city of Artemisa, the capital of the western province that shares the same name, who became independent workers due to the new self-employment law laid out by the Cuban government, face a critical situation. They had signed a 10-year contract with the government’s Services Company in the city so they could develop their work and now they are being forced to leave their site and lose the small investments they made to improve it. The building no longer belongs to them they were told, “Because now it belongs to the government’s Retail Sales Enterprise (Comercio) and not the Services Company anymore.”"

Mujeres emprendedoras diseñan para la moda afro-cubana  8/15/2016 Havana Times: "En un apartamento del poblado de Cojimar ubicado en La Habana del Este. Mujeres cubanas se inician como diseñadoras de moda para un proyecto que aspira a visibilizar el trabajo de la mujer afrodescendiente en Cuba, mostrar su belleza en toda su diversidad y convertirse en una fuente de empleo."

Derecho e Informática, un puente a medio construir en Cuba  8/12/2016 IPS: "Para la presidenta de la no gubernamental Sociedad Cubana de Derecho e Informática, es vital potenciar un pensamiento en la población cubana que le “permita superar el estado de simple consumidor de tecnología para convertirse en creador de valores”."

What do Cuban entrepreneurs stand to win from closer US Cuba relations?  8/1/2016 Cuba Counterpoints: "At this point, even if the government facilitates direct relations between the self-employed and foreign businesses, it will remain to be seen how many independent entrepreneurs become actual company owners. Many of these entrepreneurs have been able to stay in business only because their ability to operate within the production and price-regulating features of the informal and underground economies (which are economies geared toward survival, focusing on short-term objectives and low-level investments)."

Cuentapropistas en el limbo jurídico  7/23/2016 Negra Cubana: "Ninguna de estas historias son ficticias, es la vida de gente común que camina por las calles de La Habana. Gente que trabaja en la más absoluta precariedad de sus derechos laborales y a quienes todos les llamamos “cuentapropistas”. Los suponemos en una vida de lujo pero en cambio viven una Cuba cada vez más intensa."

Cuba: the Government vs. its Emigres  7/9/2016 Havana Times: "However, Cuba isn’t a normal country because the government chooses instead to have a hostile relationship with its emigres – the opposite of what happens everywhere else in the world, including in the Dominican Republic – and prefers to overexploit them with exorbitant fees with its inefficient consulate services, or by buying in the most expensive half-empty stores in the world."

Cuba Warns of Dirty Money Investments from Abroad  7/7/2016 Havana Times: "The Cuban Interior Ministry (MININT) has under surveillance attempts by Cubans living abroad and foreign citizens who are introducing illicit funds in the country to invest in the private sector, in goods and property."

Florida bank issues first US credit card for use in Cuba  6/23/2016 AP: "A small Florida bank will issue the first U.S. credit card intended for use in Cuba and make it easier for Americans to travel and work on an island largely cut off from the U.S. financial system, the bank announced Tuesday. Pompano Beach-based Stonegate Bank said its Mastercard, available Wednesday, will let U.S. travelers charge purchases at state-run businesses and a handful of private ones, mostly high-end private restaurants equipped with point-of-sale devices. Until now, Americans have generally had to bring cash to Cuba and change it either at state institutions that impose a 10 percent penalty on the dollar or in informal exchanges with locals. “This is going to be huge for American companies trying to do business down here,” Stonegate president David Seleski said. The card’s utility will be limited for the moment, however. Cuba is preventing cardholders from using them for cash advances. And while the bank says there are 10,000 point-of-sale devices across the island, cashiers in state-owned stores often say they are out of service."

Nestle Helps Cuba Skirt the US Embargo  6/22/2016 Havana Times: "In conclusions made from this deal, the US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council values the fact that the Obama administration is focussing on creating trade opportunities rather than directly or immediately influencing this activity with Cuba’s independent farmers. This focus is founded on the belief that in the last 190 days of Obama’s presidency, a bilateral trade agreement is on the horizon, even when it isn’t the kind of involvement for State companies that the Cuban government and its institutions want, may be seen as preferable than not having one at all."

Cuba Oriental aspira a convertirse en alternativa a La Habana y Varadero  6/22/2016 Nuevo Herald 

First U.S. managed hotel begins operating in Cuba  6/1/2016 Periodico 26: "Havana's newly named Four Points by Sheraton, the first U.S. managed hotel on the island in over 50 years, began operating June 29, under the administration of the Starwood chain, in association with Cuban state enterprise Gaviota."

17 Things You Need to Know Before Doing Business in Cuba  5/30/2016 Entrepreneur 

Sesionó Foro de Negocios Cuba y Missouri  5/30/2016 Juventud Rebelde: "A las 48 horas del anunció de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos del 17 de diciembre de 2014, aseguró el Gobernador Nixon, reunió a su gabinete para analizar como podían dirigirse en ese camino, y confesó que quiso ser el primer estado en llegar a Cuba, que es una oportunidad para rancheros y granjeros de Missouri, especialmente para los productores de arroz, soya, carne de res, maíz, algodón, fertilizantes, biocombustibles y nutrientes."

Cuba blames US sanctions for Co-op Bank closures  5/27/2016 Co-operative News: "Cuba’s permanent mission to the UN has denounced the sanctions imposed by the USA after the Co-operative Bank closed the accounts of the British Cuba Solidarity Campaign. In a press statement, Cuban officials say the Bank’s chief executive, Niall Booker, had confirmed in writing to customers that the closure was the result of the risk arising from US sanctions imposed on Cuba."

Cuba legalises small and medium private businesses  5/25/2016 BBC: "The government currently allows self-employment in several hundred job categories from restaurant owners to hairdressers. The Cuban economy has been stimulated by many of these becoming small businesses and employing other workers. The latest reforms were published in a 32-page document detailing the party's plan for economic development, and approved by Congress."

Aduana de Cuba informa sobre la entrada y salida de dinero al país  5/25/2016 Habana Linda: "Estas medidas permiten entrar al país un total de 5000 dólares máximos, pero debes declararlo ante los funcionarios de la Aduana General de la República. Los ciudadanos cubanos domiciliados en el país y los ciudadanos extranjeros residentes permanentes en Cuba pueden exportar e importar a su salida o entrada al país, sumas que no excedan los dos mil pesos cubanos 2000 pesos cubanos."

Cuba Is Seeing Increasing Work Protests  5/25/2016 Havana Times: "The recent bici-taxi protest in Plaza de la Revolución managed to get annulled dozens of fines, which had been sensationalized to appear as economic crimes. In October 2015, mail delivery workers in Banes, Holguin refused to work, finally getting their demands met against administrative arbitrariness. Other complaints haven’t been so successful, but one thing’s for sure, a crack has been opened in the Communist party’s trade union wall."

Cuba to legalize small and medium-sized private businesses  5/24/2016 AP: "Cuban business owners and economic experts said they were hopeful the reform would allow private firms to import wholesale supplies and export products to other countries for the first time, removing a major obstacle to private business growth. "This is a tremendously important step," said Alfonso Valentin Larrea Barroso, director-general of Scenius, a cooperatively run economic consulting firm in Havana. "They're creating, legally speaking, the non-state sector of the economy. They're making that sector official.""

Cuba Moves to Legalize Small- and Medium-Size Businesses  5/24/2016 WSJ: "Cuba’s government said it would move to legalize thousands of small- and medium-size businesses that have sprung up in recent years, a step that could encourage more entrepreneurship in the hemisphere’s lone communist country."

Una Cuba inclusiva siempre será más fuerte  5/20/2016 Chiringa de Cuba: "Para nadie es un secreto que Washington está apartándose lentamente de sus antiguos socios de la disidencia y apostando por los cuentapropistas, cooperativistas y empresarios cubanos, nacidos al amparo de las reformas encabezadas por el Presidente Raúl Castro. Las ventajas de estos sobre la disidencia tradicional son enormes, están integrados en la sociedad, sus compatriotas los consideran personas de éxito, poseen recursos financieros propios por lo que no hay que mantenerlos y el agua en la que nadan es la economía de mercado."

EE.UU. insta a Cuba a conectarse a Internet mientras dura el interés por la isla  5/11/2016 Ads305: "Tres compañías de telefonía móvil de Estados Unidos han firmado acuerdos con Cuba. Verizon, Sprint y T-Mobile ofrecen a sus clientes la posibilidad de realizar y recibir llamadas en la red de ETECSA con sus propios teléfonos móviles a través del “roaming” o servicio de itinerancia directo, pero hasta el momento ninguna de las compañías estadounidenses puede suministrar estos servicios a los cubanos que viven en la isla."

"Poner Internet en Cuba no es un problema tecnológico, si no una decisión política de sus líderes"  5/11/2016 Cibercuba: "He estado, participado y visto de primera mano las discusiones en la Habana con el Ministro de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba, y con la empresa principal (ETECSA). Conozco del interés que poseen en desarrollar la infraestructura de las telecomunicaciones en toda la isla. Su personal técnico, y las compañías como tal, comprenden perfectamente los beneficios económicos que esto pudiera aportarles, pero, tomar tal decisión no les corresponde a ellos, si no a los líderes políticos del país. Son ellos quienes tienen la última palabra en cuanto al cómo y cuan rápido estos cambios puedan implementarse en el país. Obviamente el gobierno cubano debería aprovechar el momento actual, en que Cuba es tema de interés mundial."

Grand Ambitions: Cuban Coders Looking to Energize a Nascent Startup Scene With First Regular Meetups  5/6/2016 Huff Post: "But an ambitious group of young Cuban programmers wants to change that and is trying to energize the island’s technology entrepreneurs by organizing its first tech meetup. Alex Medina, a 35-year-old coder from Camaguey, and a group of friends have started the Merchise Startup Circle and hope to hold the first meeting later this month in Havana. The ultimate goal, according to Medina, is to garner enough interest for regular, monthly meetings on the island."

Could US Trade Threaten Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba?  4/27/2016 Common Dreams: "Although most continue to employ conventional agricultural methods, and Cuba continues to import more than half of its food, around a quarter of the country’s farmers have nonetheless succeeded in supplying some 65 percent of national agricultural output using agroecological practices. These achievements, however, could come under threat with the expected resumption of U.S.-Cuban trade relations."

Cuban Gov. to Allow Citizens to Travel by Sea  4/22/2016 Havana Times: "The Castro government announced today it was lifting the longstanding prohibition on anyone born in Cuba from traveling by sea. The measure will allow Cubans to hire out on merchant ships and travel on cruisers. The change takes effect on April 26th."

Renowned Cuban Pro-Reform Economist Fired as Chill  4/21/2016 AP: "Reached by The Associated Press on Wednesday, Perez confirmed his dismissal by center director Humberto Blanco for having unauthorized conversations with foreign institutions and informing "North American representatives" about the internal procedures of the university. The dismissal letter described Perez, 56, as "irresponsible" and "negligent" for continuing to engage in unauthorized activity after warnings from his superiors. It also accused him of receiving unauthorized payments for a study of the South Korean economy and said he was barred from returning to work for at least four years."

Barbadian beer joins Cuban imports to relieve local demand  4/15/2016 Adelante: "Barbados´ Bank Breweries Limited will soon begin exporting nearly one million boxes of beer to Cuba, where the local demand has surpassed production capacity following the increase of tourism and private businesses."

Sector privado en Cuba, cinco años después  4/4/2016 Cuba a Contraluz: "Una primera dificultad tiene que ver con el acceso a las materias primas y el aprovisionamiento en general. Salvo para productos del agro, no existe un mercado mayorista para los pequeños emprendedores. Y las consecuencias son harto evidentes: altos precios de la oferta, desabastecimiento en la red de tiendas, repunte del mercado negro… Aunque las autoridades han reconocido el problema, la solución se perfila a mediano o largo plazo, pues las compraventas al por mayor requieren desarrollar la industria y la agricultura nacionales, y disponer de recursos financieros que permitan importar más. Las dos cosas llevan tiempo. Por otra parte, el comercio exterior cubano se encuentra centralizado en un grupo de empresas estatales, y los emprendedores no tienen licencias para exportar ni importar. De acuerdo con un informe publicado a mediados de 2015 por el Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, 504 613 personas, el 27% de la fuerza laboral, se encontraban entonces afiliadas a los nuevos emprendimientos."

Encuentro propone diseminar en Cuba computadora de 35 dólares  4/2/2016 IPS: "En el segundo islote más grande del archipiélago cubano, Isla de la Juventud, un grupo de 25 personas integrado por artistas, informáticos, emprendedores y realizadores,acampó durante tres días para compartir experiencias sobre nuevas tecnologías y desarrollo de las ciencias humanísticas. Las oportunidades para Cuba que ofrece la computadora Raspberry Pi, con un costo de solo 35 dólares en el mercado internacional, fueron valoradas por las y los participantes de THATCamp 2016, que en su segunda edición viajó a Nueva Gerona, la capital de ese municipio especial."

Sector portuario de Estados Unidos ve potencial de Cuba como centro de carga regional  3/30/2016 Cuba a contraluz: "Ejecutivos del sector logístico de Estados Unidos que recorrieron instalaciones portuarias de Cuba en días recientes han señalado que el país caribeño tiene potencial para convertirse en un hub o centro de carga para la región, aun cuando hay retos por superar en el área de la infraestructura."

17 Things You Need to Know Before Doing Business in Cuba  3/30/2016 Entrepreneur: "In advance of our AngelSummit Americas, we sat down with Cuba Emprende Chairman John McIntire and Ramphis Castro, a VC at ScienceVest and co-organizer of Startup Weekend Cuba, plus several Cuban founders to uncover what we need to know."

Private Entrepreneurship & Cuba’s Credit Policy  3/28/2016 Havana Times: "The banking reforms meant that three state banks (BANDES, BPA, and Banco Metropolitano) could issue microloans to fund the starting capital of microenterprises in Cuba. Loan offerings varied from CUP1000-5000 (US$40-200) and the interest rates were very low, ranging up to 4.25% for short term loans. Despite the reforms, very few short-term loans have been awarded to private enterprises despite attractive interest rates. However, before analyzing the shortcomings, a deeper look at the reasons why the new credit policies were introduced in the first place is necessary."

OFAC Further Amends the Cuban Assets Control Regulations Regarding Travel and Financial Transactions  3/28/2016 Lexology: "The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to further implement elements of the policy announced by the President on December 17, 2014 to engage and empower the Cuban people. These additional changes were published in the Federal Register on March 16, 2016."

What Obama’s Historic Visit to Cuba Really Means for U.S. Businesses  3/23/2016 Fortune: "In what would certainly be a big breakthrough for the Cuban people, Obama told ABC News on Sunday that Google “has a deal to start setting up more WIFI and broadband access on the island.” Google ( GOOG -0.67% ) sounded less certain. In a Spanish-language blog post on Monday, the company announced it is bringing Google Cardboard and Chromebooks to a Havana museum, where visitors can connect to a government-owned Internet carrier, and said it is “also exploring additional possibilities to increase and improve access to the Internet, but these are first steps.” "

Cubans are online and hustling despite restrictions and censorship  3/23/2016 Huck Magazine: "Despite tight controls, the internet has been essential in allowing Zenaida’s small business to thrive. The web has created a platform for her to target international tourists through sites like Airbnb, and with a connection in the house she could beat the competition by responding faster than her competitors. The constant access also meant she could with a Dutch website designer to make herself a site – with the capability of taking bookings and advance payments online, a significant achievement given U.S. restrictions on banking to Cuba complicate these types of transaction."

The economic impact of changes in U.S.-Cuba relations  3/23/2016 On Cuba: "Some time ago, the sustained affirmation that the blockade was the largest external obstacle to the country’s development was sometimes questioned by different sectors inside and outside of Cuba. However, what has happened since 17 December 2014 seems to show the weight of that argument."

Bitcoin Friendly Stripe To Allow Cuban Nationals To Incorporate U.S. Businesses & Open U.S. Bank Accounts  3/21/2016 Crypto Coins News: "Stripe, a San Francisco, Calif.-based mobile payments startup that allows merchants to accept bitcoin, has announced that its Stripe Atlas service will be available to businesses in Cuba in conjunction with President Obama’s trip to Havana this week. Stripe users, including Atlas, can accept bitcoin along with credit cards, Android Pay, Alipay and 135 currencies. Stripe Atlas will allow Cubans to establish online businesses."

The next step for developing Cuba? Microfinance  3/21/2016 Devex: "Microfinance is only available through local, state-owned banks, which cannot afford to provide the scope of financing needed in the country. Microfinance is expensive, and Cubans have little experience with microloans and credit scoring. To encourage external finance to the island, the Cuban government must allow international microfinance banks to operate and must be more welcoming to nongovernmental organizations."

WashU Expert: Quo Vadis, Cuba?  3/21/2016 Washington University 

San Cristóbal, el “paladar” de Centro Habana donde ha ido a cenar Obama  3/20/2016 La Republica: "San Cristóbal lleva como nombre el de su propietario, el chef y la inspiración de conducción, Carlos Cristóbal Márquez Valdés. Desordenado y ecléctico, este es un espacio vivido en la planta baja de una mansión de principios del siglo 20. Montones de libros antiguos están apilados en lo alto hermosa muebles viejos; fotografías en blanco y negro se disputan el espacio con antiguos portadas de discos y carteles taurinos, mientras que una selección de relojes, artefactos religiosos e, incluso una piel de cebra de tamaño completo, añadir a la mezcla."

Stripe to allow Cuban nationals to set up a U.S. business entity, bank account, and more  3/18/2016 Business Wire: "The basic infrastructure for starting an internet business in Cuba is nearly nonexistent. The country's internet penetration is among the lowest in the world, with less than 4% of the population online today. In addition, the financial rails aren't in place to transact with markets outside of Cuba. Hardly anyone has a credit card, so Cubans can't pay -- or more importantly, get paid -- for things available online to billions of people around the world. Despite these challenges in their local market, more than 70% of Cubans surveyed recently said they wanted to start their own business. Stripe Atlas will now allow entrepreneurs to set up an online business and expand beyond Cuban borders to sell to customers anywhere in the world."

EEUU permitirá más viajes y operaciones con dólares a Cuba  3/15/2016 CaféFuerte: "El paquete de medidas, que entrará en vigor este miércoles, amplía la capacidad de los estadounidenses de viajar a Cuba, impulsa los intercambios comerciales y reduce las barreras para que los cubanos realicen operaciones bancarias y financieras en dólares, incluyendo a bancos que desde terceros países pueden transferir dinero a cuentas en entidades estadounidenses a nombre de cubanos residentes en la isla."

Secretary of Commerce Pritzker and U.S. Entrepreneurs to Accompany Obama to Cuba  3/15/2016 Radio Cadena Agramonte: "Pritzker will come to Cuba with a group of business persons, like Arne Sorenson, executive president of the Marriott International hotel chain, as well as Ursula Burns, executive president of Xerox. Also part of the delegation will be executives of the companies AT & T, of telecommunications, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, which are interested in learning, in situ, more about business opportunities on the island, points out the press release. Pritzker, who will make her second trip to Cuba in less than six months, toured in October the Mariel Special Development Zone, and held meetings with trade officials in Cuba and exchanges with Cuban producers."

Obama administration loosens Cuba rules in advance of historic visit  3/15/2016 USA Today: "The Obama administration announced a new round of measures chipping away at the decades-long sanctions against Cuba Tuesday, encouraging more person-to-person educational travel and allowing Cuban nationals to get jobs in the United States or to open U.S. bank accounts. The rules could allow Cuban athletes and entertainers — including baseball players — to get jobs in the United States without having to defect from Cuba, officials said."

Cuban innovation ready to explode into tech world  3/14/2016 USA Today: "Trade with Cuba could reach $13 billion a year if restrictions between the two countries are lifted, including the U.S. embargo on Cuba, and greatly expand the island’s outdated tech sector, according to a report led by J. Walter Intelligence, a global research group, which was released at the panel. The group spent nine month interviewing economists, industry leaders and journalists about the evolution of the Cuban economy and the prospect of business dealings with the U.S."

Why You Should Invest in Cuba -- And How to Do It  3/12/2016 The Street: "Cuba checks several boxes for investors: relatively large population, healthy and educated people, a growing economy, and a low public debt level. There's also an investment catalyst: a better relationship with the United States which should unlock more capital flows."

A Letter from PW on the Cuba Book Embargo  3/10/2016 Pubishers Weekly: "As Zuleica Romay Guerra, president of the Cuban Book Institute, observed during one of the panels organized as part of the mission, the Cuban people have not been able to read American authors for more than 50 years. American readers, meanwhile, have been denied access to the works of Cuban writers."

U.S., Cuban Publishing Executives Vow Closer Cooperation  2/19/2016 Pubishers Weekly: "Commenting on the ability of the two countries to work together, Zuleica Romay Guerra, president of the Cuban Book Institute, observed, “We made a lot of progress. We’ve shown we can climb over or circumvent barriers so that they no longer separate us.”

During Panels, Realities of Cuban Publishing Market Laid Bare  2/16/2016 Publishers Weekly: "Digging deeper into the Cuban publishing scene, Zuleica Romay Guerra, president of the Book Institute of the Cuban Ministry of culture, said the longstanding trade embargo with the U.S. has made it costly to be in the book business in Cuba. That Cuban publishers are also working within a state-run model--with set budgets--only complicates things further."

Obama OK's First Factory In Cuba In 57 Years  2/15/2016 ero Hedge: "Berenthal is Cuban-born, so to a certain extent, this is a story about an entrepreneur that wants to give back to his birthplace and that's certainly understandable. That said, Clemmons is from Alabama and you can bet the headline “Alabama Man To Build Tractor Plant In Cuba Thanks To Obama-Castro Reconciliation” won’t go over well with Donald Trump voters. The next question is this: how long before John Deere decides that making tractors in Cuba or Mexico might be a whole lot cheaper than building them in America's heartland?"

Feds approve first U.S. factory in Cuba  2/15/2016 USA Today: "Cleber LLC, an Alabama-based company that builds tractors for small farms, was notified by the Treasury Department that it could open a facility in Cuba. Co-founder Saul Berenthal said the company's attorney was in Havana on Monday to start the lengthy process of finalizing the agreement with the Cuban government and hopes to start production by early 2017... The company will make a small, red tractor it calls the "Oggún" in homage to the Afro-Cuban Santeria spirit of metal work."

Cuba: Co-op growth slows  2/12/2016 Co-op News: "As Cuba continues its efforts to open to more trade, the number of new co-ops being set up has decreased. According to figures released by the country’s National Statistics Office, only 22 new co-operatives were created last year in sectors other than agriculture. This represents a decrease from 2014, when 147 co-operatives were set up. Cuba currently has 367 non-agricultural co-operatives, 193 of which are in the capital Havana."

Cuba’s Tech and Startup Scenes – on the Verge of Connection  2/3/2016 Cuba Journal: "A little known facet of Cuban society is that they are believed to be the best-educated in Latin America, with the island nation graduating more than 4,000 IT engineers annually. Education, aspiration, a changing political and economic landscape."

Se otorgan millones de pesos por créditos en Las Tunas  2/2/2016 Tiempo 21: "El Banco Popular de Ahorro (BPA) en la provincia de Las Tunas otorgó una cifra record superior a los 138 millones de pesos para créditos bancarios en el año 2015, para financiar más de siete mil familias con el objetivo de invertir en materiales de la construcción fundamentalmente."

La economía de Cuba ingresa al cuarto quinquenio del siglo XXI  2/1/2016 Cuban Studies 

Silicon Island Rebooted: Cuba’s Information & Communications Technology Revolution  2/1/2016 Harvard International Review: "In 2002, the University of Information Sciences (Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas, or UCI) was founded—ironically, on the site of a Cold War Soviet signals intelligence base—to educate the vanguard of the Cuban ICT revolution. Since then, other Cuban universities have added technology sciences to their curricula, now graduating an average of 5,500 ICT engineers each year, a third of whom have earned masters or doctoral degrees. UCI alone has produced some 18,000 computer science graduates and created 15 software production centers working on a full cycle of research, development, and innovation. These centers deal with an array of issues such as free software, e-government, databases, images and digital signals, medical data, industrial computing, and citizen identification, among other applications."

New U.S. rules allow infrastructure projects, movie shoots in Cuba  1/26/2016 Reuters: "The United States approved a wider range of commerce with Cuba on Tuesday, making it easier for U.S. companies to film movies, finance exports and do business with the Communist government on public infrastructure projects."

The Future is Coming: Observations and Reflections on Cuba  1/16/2016 The Dialog 

Cuba’s Street Vendors: The Last Link in the Supply Chain  1/13/2016 Havana Times: "“You calculate a difference and add a small percentage on top. We don’t make as much of a profit as people think, it’s a tiny profit, but it’s enough to live on.” This is clear to me, but there’s the widespread, almost official, view that, at some point in the delivery chain, “scoundrels” are profiting from people’s urgent needs. David makes a pause, as though about to reveal a great truth. “Look, the real problem with prices has to do with production shortages, it all stems from that.”"

El salario en Cuba: los falsos paradigmas y la terca realidad  1/11/2016 Cuba Posible: "En particular, es necesario mejorar la distribución primaria del ingreso nacional, incrementando la parte de este que se distribuye como salario. Los mecanismos de redistribución –por la vía del gasto social– pudieran suplementar el proceso mediante una repartición secundaria del ingreso por la vía de componentes de la política fiscal, como son los impuestos y el gasto social, pero la distribución primaria, fundamentalmente en lo referente al salario, es crucial. Si se instaurase en Cuba un modelo económico capaz de crear y de mantener “trabajo decente”(2), aquel que es productivo y que va acompañado de un ingreso digno, las demás piezas del rompecabezas económico, social y político de Cuba caerían más fácilmente en su lugar."

A new Cuban revolution and the stark divide between rich and poor  1/9/2016 Globe & Mail: "Stephanie Nolen reports from a country in transition: ‘I didn’t go to Cuba planning to report on inequality. But it kept coming up, a source of comment and concern. Not many people study inequality in a place where, in theory, the political system has eradicated it’ "

Puerto de Virginia se conecta con Cuba  1/7/2016 Progreso Semanal: "La Autoridad Portuaria de Virginia se convertirá en el primer operador portuario de Estados Unidos en firmar un acuerdo de cooperación con su homóloga cubana, en un esfuerzo por aumentar el comercio y establecer un servicio directo con Cuba, dijo el gobernador de Virginia el lunes."

Alberto Jones Columns on the Cuban Economy

The Need to Speed up Changes in Oriente  12/7/2013

La Zona de Desarrollo del Mariel. Potencialidad y Riesgos.  25/11/2013

Guantánamo en nosotros 30/6/2013

- Guantánamo in us 6/30/2013

Cuba demanda un nuevo Baragua 20/6/2013

- Cuba demands another Baragua 6/20/2013

Podemos dejar perecer a Santiago de Cuba?, 24/11/12

New approach to deal with hurricane onslaught on Cuba,

Nuevo enfoque para tratar con los huracanes en Cuba,

Sandy´s trail of death and destruction, 11/26/12
An appeal for aid, Caribbean American Children

La senda de destrucción y muerte de Sandy, 26/12/2012
Un llamamiento de ayuda,
Fundación Caribeña Americana de los Niños.

Peligros e incertidumbre tras las nuevas regulaciones
aduanales, 9/14/2012

My Cuba. Summer of 2011, 11/24/11

Myopic policies hurts local economy, 6/6/11  

- The Entrenched Cuban Embargo, 10/19/09 

The Handling of the Cuban Housing Crisis
, 10/16/09

Cuba Financial Woes Risking its Future, while Sitting on 
Untapped Riches


Cuba: a Recession-Resistant Nation with a 
Failing Economy
, 7/25/09 With recommendations for
repair, including encouraging small business.

Preventing a second Special Period: 
an urgent imperative
, 11/15/08



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