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Articles, Opinions and Papers

February 2015
When the U.S. State Department announced new rules for products that independent Cuban entrepreneurs could sell in the United States, it published a broad list detailing they couldn’t sell. That left many people scratching their heads over whether much of anything now produced by Cuba’s cuentapropistas would be allowed.
HAVANA (AP) — Rolling toward customs with a 60-pound suitcase filled with clothing and electronics for friends, my stomach clenched when a female agent in a light green uniform approached. As a former longtime Cuba correspondent returning after nearly six years, I thought I knew what would come next: a search of my luggage by stoned-faced military men, a scolding, maybe even a fine.
(Reuters) - The United States on Friday eased restrictions on imports of goods and services from private Cuban entrepreneurs as part of Washington's rapprochement with Havana after more than half a century of enmity.
January 2015
HAVANA-Private restaurants in Havana are exploding in number and soaring in quality, providing a treat for visitors and a surprising bright spot in a nation better known for monotonous food and spotty service.
HAVANA, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Cuba will circulate higher-denomination peso bills starting in February as the communist-run nation works toward unifying a dual monetary system that has been in place for the last two decades, official media said on Thursday.
On a sunny day this past summer, two entrepreneurs met in South Beach to talk about artisanal soaps. They exchanged stories about how they became interested in the soap-making business and discussed their favorite places to buy supplies and how to develop their favorite scents. What makes this seemingly routine meeting between entrepreneurs different is that Ricardo is a Cuban-American with an established soap-making business in Miami and Sandra is one of Cuba’s half a million nascent entrepreneurs and sells her soap out of a storefront in Old Havana.
HAVANA — Joan Perez-Garcia has tried just about everything to find a decent-paying job in Cuba's state-run economy. He became an elementary schoolteacher, but it only paid the equivalent of $6 a month. He became a train mechanic, and that increased his salary to $10. Working as a construction worker and barber were no better.
Cuba has made some important market-oriented changes, but much remains to be done to revive the island's anemic economy.
Cuba’s dual-peso system, in place for 20 years, will soon be no more and cigar maker Brascuba is ready for the currency’s unification.
December 2014
Alfonso Morre has spent nine years studying mechanics and civil engineering in order to become -- a Havana taxi driver. Following President Barack Obama’s decision to ease the embargo on Cuba, he is hoping for something better. Driving a 26-year-old Russian-made Lada through the cobbled streets of Cuba’s capital, Morre says he needs his engineering degree just to keep the car on the road. That may be about to change.
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