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September 2014
(Reuters) - Cuba offered to free jailed Canadian executive Cy Tokmakjian in return for $55 million and company assets, his company said on Monday, but the deal fell through because the firm didn't have the money and the businessman wanted to clear his name.
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba's state-run tourism industry is increasingly doing business with the country's new class of private entrepreneurs, trying to improve quality of food and lodging while maintaining a grip on the sector's biggest sources of foreign exchange.
A Miami-based publication says it is launching a new effort to measure Cuba’s economic pulse. The Cuba Standard Economic Trend Index, compiled by a team of Cuba-born economists, will offer a monthly outlook on Cuba’s economy by using an “independent measurement,” according to a statement released last week.
The Cuban Domestic Trade department put the number eateries being privatized at 9,000 -- compared with 1,261 private family-run restaurants already operating. The state will still own the land the restaurants sit on.
The Cuban government approved 498 non-agricultural cooperatives since the first 124 were created a year ago as a new model of economic enterprise, Cabinet secretary Homero Acosta said.
(Reuters) - Cuba's experiment with free-market reforms has unintentionally widened the communist-led island's racial divide and allowed white Cubans to regain some of the economic advantages built up over centuries.
August 2014
MIAMI – Cuba is a land that remains a mystery to most Americans. Are the economic changes instituted in recent years by President Raul Castro working? Can the dissident movement ever gain enough traction to overthrow the Communist government? Just how good is its acclaimed but flawed health care system? How many superstar baseball players are left down there? But when looking to the future of the island – a post-Castro period that is often contemplated by American government officials, business owners eager to explore that market and Cuban-Americans curious about their role in the island's future – one question intrigues me most: What kind of human capital is left in Cuba?
When you’ve spent your entire life on a communist island where staples like eggs and chicken are rationed, lunch in Miami can be overwhelming. Ask Sandra Aldama, a Cuban mother and former special education teacher who made her first visit to the United States this month. Settling into a downtown Italian restaurant as waiters whizzed by with plates of fettuccine alfredo and veal parmesan, Aldama was almost certainly reminded of what the average Cuban can’t get at home.
What the administration can do is remove obstacles to the incipient Cuban private sector. Let’s start with the Internet. The United States should do everything we can to facilitate Internet access for Cuban citizens. Ordinary Cubans wait for hours to purchase Internet time at Cuban telephone company offices, the closest thing there is to Internet cafes.
If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, perhaps a significant economic and social opening might gain footing in Cuba with the success of Sandra Aldama’s soap micro-business, or Marianela Pérez’s Pizzeria Nella.
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